class in an auditorium

“Wage prize” approved for graduates who stay working in Portugal 

Graduates to receive “one year’s tuition fees for each year of declared work”

Yesterday’s Council of Ministers – one of the last in Portugal’s outgoing Socialist government – approved the decree-law creating a “wage prize” for young people who complete their higher education training and stay working in Portugal.

The 2024 State Budget, also approved yesterday, stipulates that tuition fees will not change, but students can benefit in another way, as long as they stay working in Portugal after finishing their courses.

“With the dual aim of rewarding the pursuit of higher education and encouraging the most qualified young people to remain in this country, the government will award, from 2024, an incentive to young graduates corresponding to one year’s tuition fees for each year of declared work in Portugal,” said the report accompanying the proposal.

With a budgetary impact of around €215 million, this measure will cover the 250,000 students who have completed a bachelor’s, integrated master’s or master’s degree at public or private higher education institutions this year.

These graduates will be entitled to a refund of their tuition fees over a period equivalent to the number of years of the course, i.e. up to four years for undergraduates, up to six years in the case of integrated master’s degrees and two years for master’s degrees.

The only condition is that they must stay working in Portugal for at least that time period.

The maximum amount to be repaid will be up to €697 for each year of work for bachelor’s and integrated master’s degrees and up to €1,500 for master’s degrees.

Student bodies have stressed that while any financial returns are ‘good’, they would much preferred to have seen reductions in tuition fees, as this would encourage many more young people into higher education in the first place.

Source material: LUSA