Bulgarian and Romanian students in the UK are criticizing the government for their decision to curtail their financial support. London announced in November that they were going to suspend loans for living expenses for about 7500 students from Bulgaria and Romania. The two nations are the poorest in the European Union and there had been major increase of applicant from the two countries.
In an interview Stanimira Karaivanska, a student from Bulgaria who also attends the Kingston University located in London said she was upset. She stated that she relied on the money to attend university where she is an environmental management student. She was surprised when she found out that her student loan of £2,100 which was for 3 months had been frozen. The 19 years old student said she missed going to university a couple of times as she was unable to fund her bus and train ticket. After living in Britain for seven years, she was left stunned on how she did not meet the required criteria. She voiced her opinion in agreement with other students that she is a victim of discriminatory verdicts made by the government who wants to show that they intend to get hard on immigration in light of elections for Europe in May.
Government has since stretched the policy to comprise students that are form other EU countries but it only applies to students attending private institutions. Students from the two countries are affected across the board regardless of their institution. Ministers’ claim that this measure is a precautionary one and will stay in effect and those affected will have to show their eligibility for financial aid. Financial aid will only be given to students who reside in Britain for three years or more and will have to be repaid back as soon as the student starts working.
Miglena Zasheva another Bulgarian student had her monthly grant for maintenance of £500 cut in January. She is 23 years old and has being living in the UK since 2010 where on arrival she had to do low wage jobs liking cleaning and picking fruit in order to survive. She provided the relevant documents such as pay slips, bank statement and tax documents to the authorities to prove her eligibility for financial aid but they said it was not enough. She now works at a gym where she is a receptionist and has to work overtime in order to stay financially afloat. She believes she is competing in a battle she can’t win because sometimes she has to pick between buying food and taking transportation.
She survives most times because of her good hearted friends who lend a hand financially but she owes them £600 and it upsets her as she is unable to send her usual £100 per month to assists her parents back home.
Andrei Stan believes students from his native Bulgaria are being targeted at a time where restriction will be lifted to accommodate Romanians and Bulgarians.