Cost sharing and access in Moroccan higher education: Perceptions and attitudes of opinion leaders, students and families
Ait Si Mhamed, Ali
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This research study focuses on the public university education in Morocco after the implementation of financial reform of the stipend grant in 1993 which has no longer guaranteed the stipend to all entrants to higher education as it was the policy prior the reform. Without stipend money, higher education expenses become the student's and the family's responsibilities. This shift has led to an increase in "cost sharing" in Moroccan higher education in Morocco. Hence, cost sharing in Morocco has taken the from of reduction of need based cost of living stipends and room and board facilities, as well as freezing the amount of the stipends for almost three decades, so are the prices of lodging and dining facilities. This research study investigates the phenomenon of cost sharing in Morocco using two methodologies: document analysis and interviewing. Document analysis has investigated and illustrated the policy of cost sharing in higher education in Morocco, the impact of cost sharing policy on choice of the program and enrollment behavior, the policy of financial aid system of stipends and room and board, and policies of measurement criteria and eligibility for benefiting or being denied from financial aid assistance. A grounded theory analysis is developed to discuss data collected through focus group and individual interviews on perceptions and attitudes of stockholders towards higher education finance and accessibility in Morocco. This grounded theory examines the government's agenda for a potential financial reform and students and families fears and sacrifices. Students' and their families' views are discussed under two themes: reality and illusion in eligibility criteria of means testing, and governance and financial issues as perceived by families and students. Finally, the study concludes with investigating a few problems inferred from data, and recommends a long term plan in reforming student financial aid and implementing students loans program and tuition fees in order to diversify the governmental revenue and improve the quality and equity of tertiary higher education in Morocco.