A number of licensed places in the institutions of higher education in Slovenia for the next academic year is slightly less than 19,000, while the scholarships are provided for more than 50,000 students.
State scholarship is an important financial assistance to students, which simplifies their way to higher education. Scholarships shall also encourage international mobility of students and enhance their competitiveness in the labour market.
The Government of Slovenia pays state scholarships, Zois scholarships, scholarships from companies and municipalities, scholarships for occupations in short supply and scholarships for education abroad. To obtain each of them, it is necessary to comply with a number of requirements.
The majority of all scholarships are state scholarships that in this academic year are allocated to more than 42,000 pupils and students, which is 1,800 less than two years ago. Slightly more than 7,000 persons are nominated to receive Zois scholarships for gifted youth, 1,000 persons receive scholarships for occupations in short supply (this type of scholarships was introduced in 2014) and 639 students receive scholarships from companies.
Table 1. Types of Scholarships in Slovenia.
The scholarships from companies are the biggest. Legally, they are limited only by the minimum amount set for the state scholarships. On the issue of allocating such scholarships, the Government cooperates with Slovenian companies that specify their requirements to pupils and students.
To receive the majority of company scholarships, it is necessary not only to successfully complete studies at school/university, but then to work in the donor company for a certain period of time, which usually equals to the period of scholarship receipt.
Under the new project, which is 80% financed by the EU, Slovenia shall allocate 18.4 million euros for co-financing of company scholarships until 2022.
The scheme for distributing company scholarships is based on cooperation between employers (beneficiaries) and the Government to educate the youth, taking into account the current realities of the economy and their subsequent employment.
Over the past 10 years, the difference between the supply and demand for certain professions have been increasing from year to year, as noted by the director of the Manpower recruitment agency Robert Vovk. He adds that this year, 33% of Slovenian employers have noted that they experienced difficulties in recruiting staff for a number of positions.
The Slovenian pharmaceutical company Krka receives a large number of applications for the company scholarships. In 2016, Krka had 47 scholarship holders. After graduation, the students and the company sign an employment contract for a period equal to the period of scholarship receipt. More than 75% of these students later continue working in the company.
“We have an open competition for applying to the scholarship. In other words, we consider applications all year round. There are always a lot of applications, so that the company scholarship is mainly allocated to those students who achieve high results in their studies and in other spheres, who are motivated to work in our company and whose profession corresponds to our business activities,” the Krka representatives admit.
The majority of scholarships are allocated to the students from the faculties of pharmacy and chemistry. Several scholarships are intended for the students from other study programs that are of interest to employers (electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and economics).