Letta cracks down on benefits cheats
'Scandal hurts those most in need'03 December, 17:07
In a recent investigation, police uncovered one student receiving financial aid at her university in Rome, despite the fact that her father drove a Ferrari and owned several luxury homes. fake According to her self-declared financial records, her family made only 19,000 euros annually. "We have seen the scandal of the student who went to school in a Ferrari," said Letta. Such examples "hurt the many who are truly in need". In the probe, investigators examined students' financial records and need-based scholarship applications at Rome's three major universities - La Sapienza, Tor Vergata and Roma Tre universities.
They found that 62% of those students were fraudulently receiving government aid.
One student at Roma Tre said she "forgot" to mention her family's annual income of 70,000 euros, while another calculated her family income to be 14,313 euros yet failed to mention a 600,000-euro bank account. With Italy mired in its worst recession in two decades and unemployment soaring, more students than ever have applied for financial assistance. According to school officials in Rome, 84% of university students in the capital have applied for some form of aid, of whom 16% are listed as being in serious need at La Sapienza, and 27% at Roma Tre and Tor Vergata. Experts say many of those students have turned to higher education in lieu of a job, as the jobless rate among youth climbs beyond 40%. "We know that resources are limited," said Labor Minister Enrico Giovannini after a cabinet meeting Tuesday. "That's why it's crucial they go to those who need it".