(Photo: Jenifer Rivera)

An agreement between the Ministry of Education and the government’s Victims Unit will extend access to higher education to victims of Colombia’s armed conflict through a special student loan program, national media reported Wednesday.

A reported 2,015 beneficiaries were selected during November and December of last year to receive public education funding. The loans are up to 100% forgivable in some cases.

The program takes into account the applicants’ economic status, the chosen institution of higher education and modalities of the academic program, and favors individuals from socially excluded demographics, such as female heads of households, indigenous and afro-Colombians and disabled persons, according to the El Tiempo newspaper.

With 323 recipients, the central state of Antioquia will benefit most from the program, followed by Sucre with 192 recipients and the country’s capital of Bogota with 114.

The loans, according to the Victims Unit, will cover up to $3,300 of tuition and $450 in living costs.

In order to qualify, beneficiaries must already have been admitted to an institution of higher education recognized by the Ministry of Education, or already pursuing another career.

The next round of applications is reportedly scheduled for late May 2014.


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