What have we done?
- TOTAL COVERAGE OF STUDENT GRANTS: thanks to mobilisation of students
- REDUCTION OF MERIT CRITERIA: we have reduced the number of CFUs for applying for scholarships in some courses and accommodation
- REOPENING OF THE BORSELLINO CANTEEN WITH LONGER OPENING HOURS
- MORE STUDY ROOMS: at PoliTo, we reopened the “Ex-Reale Mutua” study room and the T-classroom complex; for EDISU, we had 2 new study rooms opened and activated the “Campus Diffuso” project
What do we want to do?
- INCREASE the ISEE/ISPE THRESHOLD: so that more people can apply for the grant and the sleeping accommodation
- ANTICIPATION OF STUDENT GRANTS: to support students starting in October
- STUDENTS ACCOMMODATIONS: we call for new facilities, more beds, increased Wi-Fi connection
- CANTEENS: review of price increases, opening of the first canteen in Mirafiori, introduction of vegetarian/vegan alternatives
University in Italy is a Right, recognised by the Constitution and earned in the youth uprisings of the 1960s. This simple statement is the basis of our thinking on the right to study, but today it is not a given. Speculation, inflation, housing emergency, savage cuts and privatisation threaten the possibility to live and study freely. We believe that the university as the cultural lung of the country must be free and open to all, giving the opportunity to study, improve one’s culture, life, and territory regardless of one’s socio-economic conditions of birth. This is why we must defend and expand our Right to Study, against all logic of profit, loan and scarcity, but to make it an effective right, guaranteed to all citizens!
- COVERAGE OF SCHOLARSHIPS
For more than five years now, as the majority group in ARDSU, we have succeeded in having scholarships fully covered. This coverage is obtained, year after year, always and only at the last minute, creating a perennial state of uncertainty that falls on the weakest economic groups. For this reason, we want the Region to commit itself to financing the Piedmontese Right to Study in a more structured manner, increasing funding so that it is no longer done ‘by the drop of a hat’.
- MERIT REQUIREMENTS
As Alter.POLIS, we have always maintained that the Right to Study should be a real right, not a reward for having obtained university exams. For this reason, we consider it essential to facilitate access to EDISU benefits by reducing merit requirements. We achieved a first victory last year, when for the first time in 21 years, we succeeded in introducing a slight reduction of CFUs in subsequent years for some courses. In the coming years, we intend to extend this reduction to the first years as well, and to increasingly reduce the number of CFUs required to access EDISU benefits.
- INCOMPATIBILITY WITH OTHER SCHOLARSHIPS
We have fought to make EDISU grants, allowances, prizes and contributions from other public or private bodies compatible with EDISU scholarships, as requested in particular by students and representatives of the Collegio Einaudi, and with benefits from the Alta Scuola Politecnica. Last year the Region did not come to a decision on this matter, but we will continue to fight for this decision to be taken this term!
- INTERNATIONAL MOBILITY GRANTS
Thanks to our work as representatives, we succeeded in blocking the cut in resources for students on mobility grants, preventing the disbursement of the unused housing allowance and the reduction of the supplementary contribution. We also succeeded in obtaining improvements: in the call for supplementary contributions for the year 2018/2019, the “free mover” and “double degree” programmes were also considered, where foreseen. After the victory of the enlargement of the pool of beneficiaries of the international mobility grant, we fought for the allocation of the necessary funds to ensure the grant to all those who were eligible non-beneficiaries in the 2018/2019 academic year.
- INFO EDISU PIEDMONT SCHOLARSHIP HOLDERS
“Info Borsisti EDISU Piemonte” is now a point of reference for all scholarship holders in Piedmont: created in 2017 as a Facebook page and landed on Instagram and on Telegram in 2021, it represents a fundamental support point for anyone who has questions and doubts about the procedures related to benefits, but not only! “Info Borsisti” allows everyone to interface and dialogue between scholarship holders and residents as well as to contact our representatives in EDISU directly and quickly, to ask for help in uncomfortable situations and to bring to our attention everything that is wrong with EDISU and the regional Right to Study! Over the years, we have repeatedly brought forward the requests that arose from the community on the group, making representation truly shared and active from below!
- INCREASING THE NUMBER OF BENEFICIARIES
Despite the fact that our region is among the most virtuous in Italy, we believe that much progress can still be made: the current maximum threshold for obtaining the grant is still €23,626 of ISEE, with only two brackets, despite the investments made by the Ministry of Universities. Sometimes, for a few euros more or less, one goes from being fully entitled to nothing to being left with nothing. Last year, we were the only list, together with Studenti Indipendenti (UniTo) and CollettivaMente (Upo), to fight for higher ISEE/ISPE thresholds. We are not going to let our voices be heard in the Region: we want the new ministerial thresholds to be implemented in Piedmont as well. Furthermore, we propose the introduction of some buffer bands, which would also allow those with an ISEE above the threshold to obtain at least a partial subsidy: the Right to Study must not be a privilege of a few but a Right of all.
- INCREASED AMOUNTS
High rents, high utility bills and inflation are all phenomena that have a heavy impact on the lives of students, especially out-of-town students: for this reason we demand that the amounts of study grants be further increased WITHOUT DEDUCTIONS brought about by EDISU. Fictitious increases such as last year’s, which were accompanied by an increase in the deduction for those in residence and increases in canteen fees, are nothing more than a pretext to boast about an increase in the Right to Study in Piedmont while at the same time increasing students’ economic contribution to EDISU benefits.
- ADVANCE PAYMENT OF SCHOLARSHIPS
To date, the two instalments of the EDISU grant take place at the end of December and in July (or even December of the following year for some first years). This means that the grant is not a contribution to facilitate access to education but a ‘reimbursement of expenses’, which especially at the beginning of one’s career are more than substantial. After an initial victory, with 50% of the scholarship being paid out in the first instalment of the first years (previously it was 25%), we demand that the scholarships be paid out in advance, with the first instalment to be paid out when the provisional rankings are published. In order to achieve this, we want to increase the relations between EDISU and the universities, so that the latter become guarantee bodies and intermediaries for the advance payment of the scholarships, using the regional tax paid by the students to the universities for this purpose.
RESIDENCES AND RESIDENCY
- PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING
We believe that the psychological well-being, not only of students, but of any person must be protected. The competitiveness to which the current university model pushes us, the stressful conditions to which we are subjected, due to the obligation to grind credits within certain deadlines in order to be considered worthy and thus continue our university course, represent a strong obstacle to protecting this. Thus, just as in the universities we have had psychological counters opened, in the residences we have also helped to open the “ResidenzAscolta” space, a psychological counter, which, especially during COVID, has proved to be extremely useful for the well-being of many students, who are subjected to even more sources of discomfort, faced with the total disinterest of the institutions that have not considered us and the difficulty of restarting after the period of confinement in the small rooms of our residences. This is also why we demand that the psychological well-being of those who study and work in the residences be maintained and implemented in the coming years.
- INTERNET CONNECTION ENHANCEMENT
A point on which we have fought so hard is that of the internet connection within each individual facility: given the different contractual arrangements with the various service contractors, it appears that there are different qualities of connection between the various residences. The need for an adequate connection was again highlighted by the health crisis: if on the one hand EDISU prevented numerous people who were not ‘deserving’ enough, according to the EDISU president, from receiving the scholarship, on the other hand, numerous residences found themselves without an adequate internet connection to follow the lectures and take the online exams, which are necessary to obtain those credits that should allow them to access the call for all benefits. For this reason, at the beginning of the lockdown in March 2020, we had sim cards available in the various residences with activated promotions related to the data connection and, in the structures with a more complicated situation, we had a new wi-fi connection installed or upgraded the existing one.
- NEW RESIDENCES
This year we finally obtained two new residences: the ‘Foresteria Lingotto’ and the ‘Residenza Giordano Bruno’, which added no less than 364 new beds. These two residences are in addition to the ‘Cesare Codegone’ and ‘Carlo Mollino’ which reopened two years ago after four years of work.
- PROTECTION OF THE RENTAL MARKET
Although increasing the number of beds is an important goal, it is not enough! Piedmont and Turin are in a tragic situation as far as housing for out-of-town students is concerned, with thousands of eligible students who are not beneficiaries, dilapidated residences and an unprotected rental market with prices that are rising out of all proportion. We therefore call on EDISU, interfacing with the Turin City Council, the Piedmont Region, the universities and the relevant authorities, to revise the territorial agreement in order to protect students even more and to allow access to decent housing conditions for all regardless of their financial means.
- REDUCTION OF THE DEDUCTION FOR ASSIGNEES
Last year, the Piedmont Region decided to increase to € 2700 the deduction from the grant for those who are assignees of residence, pocketing an increase of almost HALF A MILLION EURO coming exclusively from students’ pockets. We do not believe it is fair to exploit the increases in grant amounts to cover the costs of residences, we therefore call for it to be reduced and at least brought back to what it was in past years.
- DISTRIBUTION OF BASIC NECESSITIES
After having proposed in the 2019/2021 term of office the free distribution of basic necessities and everyday essentials (such as sanitary towels, condoms, etc.) in all EDISU residences and study halls, we have achieved a first step forward with the installation of free sanitary towel dispensers in the “Villa Claretta” and “Olimpia” residences as well as in the “Opera” study hall.
- HOUSING SEARCH
Given the emergency situation, it is necessary for EDISU to activate policies to support those who are forced to turn to the private market. An experiment in this sense was carried out by EDISU with CercoAlloggio, a web portal that put supply and demand in contact, without intermediation costs and guaranteeing transparency and regularity of negotiations.
The CercoAlloggio service made it possible to conclude contracts even remotely, providing a virtual tour of flats and AFFITTI certifying their good condition. It also constituted a means to protect students from blackmail and racist attitudes of landlords, who often show prejudice in renting to students of other cultures or nationalities. It also provided access to a legal advice desk on rental contracts totally free of charge. Despite the success of the experiment and our attempt to expand it and guarantee it in the long term by involving universities and the region in the project, fundingare working and will continue to work to ensure that such a service is restored and students are supported and protected in their search for housing.
- REVOLVING FUND
The number of places in EDISU residences is unfortunately still far from the necessary number, so every year thousands of eligible applicants have to turn to the private rental market. Unfortunately, between deposits, agency fees and transfers, one finds oneself having to pay hundreds of euros even before starting the year, and moreover without any financial support, since the first instalment of the grant is only paid in December. This situation produces strong inequalities, especially for those who, like first-year students, are going through a particularly delicate moment in their journey, and for whom the bed coverage is particularly low. We therefore fought hard to find a solution, which has finally arrived after lengthy negotiations. This is the Security Deposit Revolving Fund, i.e. the possibility of obtaining an advance on the bursary, up to a maximum of EUR 800, to cover the security deposit costs associated with entering into a rental agreement. In 2017, we also organised a tent garrison in front of the EDISU boardroom, demanding that the criteria for access to the fund be extended to the following years. Again, we achieved a great victory! For the future, we will continue to fight for the measure to be renewed and extended. We want the subsidy to be paid out as early as the beginning of September and to be able to apply for it several times during the course of a university career, but also several times during the year if necessary, such as in the case of a change of residence. In general, we are convinced that it is necessary to set up a more substantial support measure, which is not limited to the sum of the deposit alone, but allows the coverage of all monthly rent payments up to the disbursement of the first instalment of the scholarship.
- ELIMINATION OF PRICE INCREASES
As of 2022/23, the Region has made a clear political choice by increasing canteen prices by an average of 40% for a single course. This choice, in addition to increasing costs for students, represents a real weakening of the catering system, which will be used less and less. This is in complete contrast to what happened in 2016, where the adoption of a reduced price scale led to a 70% increase in the meals provided by EDISU. This year we took to the streets to demonstrate against these increases, but our mobilisation does not end here: we will continue, inside and outside the bodies, to fight for an affordable system for all students.
- IMPROVING QUALITY AND PROPOSALS
Crucial is the quality of the food served in the canteens, which goes hand in hand with the possibility of having vegetarian/vegan alternatives and greater diversity to allow even students with particular intolerances to enjoy a complete meal. In this sense, after having already had the inclusion of requirements for the use of eco-sustainable materials and equipment introduced in the division of the tender score, we have also obtained the inclusion of award criteria for the presence of vegetarian/vegan alternatives.
- CONTRACTING THE VALENTINE’S BAR
This is a transitional solution, positive but not definitive, to improve the catering service in the San Salvario area, following the closure of the canteen in Via Galliari, by providing a service delivery point inside the Castello del Valentino, but also closer to the United premises (Via Giuria etc.). This solution should be flanked by other affiliated establishments in the same area and better use of the agreement with the in-house canteen of the Stampa! But above all: in perspective, the objective should be the opening of a genuine new canteen in the area of the Turin Exhibition Centre (Rotonda del Valentino).
- EMERGENCY CANTEENS AND MIRAFIORI
Piedmont has the lowest guarantee levels of the catering system among Italian regions. In an already poorly functioning system, the closure of the Borsellino canteen in 2019 was for us an irresponsible gesture on the part of the EDISU administration. Thanks to our protests and pressure, we were able to obtain the reopening of the canteen last year. At the same time, the Mirafiori site is uncovered and monopolised by the only cafeteria run by CirFood, which prevents the presence of external kiosks and competition even outside the perimeter of the Citadel of Design. In view of the headquarters expansion project, carried out by the Politecnico, we ask that first of all the agreements with the bar be reviewed, as well as the creation of a proper canteen for what will be the DAD headquarters at Valentino and the Citadel of Automobile at Mirafiori.
- EXTENSION OF ‘PURSE’ HOURS
After the historic victory that led us to reopen the Borsellino canteen, we want the opening hours to be consistent with those followed by the Poli students. Last November we managed to extend the opening hours from 12:00-14:00 to 11:45-14:30. However, this is not enough! We demand that the ‘Borsellino’ also adopt the same hours as the ‘Castelfidardo’, opening for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. so that everyone can eat regardless of when classes end!
The situation of Turin’s study rooms is undoubtedly critical: finding a free place is a challenge, and the opening hours only partially correspond to our needs. The pandemic has further highlighted the structural problems, which have been denounced for years, of these spaces. Even when they were able to reopen, in fact, most of the study rooms remained closed, due to the unhealthy environment and the impossibility of meeting health standards. But that’s not all: the pandemic has made it more difficult to get around by public transport, which is often unsafe, to the study rooms, all of which are restricted to the downtown area. With the universities completely closed, easily accessible study rooms have become a necessity for many students.
CASTELFIDARDO MIXED SPACE
After an initial approval of our motion in the Regional Assembly, we intend to make the Castelfidardo canteen a true mixed space. On the model of what already happens in the ‘Principe Amedeo’, ‘Olimpia’ and ‘Perrone’ canteens, we want that during the canteen’s non-opening hours, it will be possible to use the hundreds of free places to study in complete freedom. Being part of the same complex as the Ex-EDISU study room, it would also be possible to extend its opening until midnight and on Saturdays, as is already the case for the study room.
MORE MIXED SPACES AND INVESTMENT THROUGHOUT TURIN
The idea of mixed spaces must not be limited to the Castelfidardo canteen alone, but must take hold throughout Turin and Piedmont. We want more services in the existing mixed spaces as well as the creation of new ones. We call for the setting up of real microwave zones as well as investment in a broadband wifi connection so that these spaces can be used for many hours without inconvenience. We also want all the problems in the most dilapidated facilities to be fixed by investing in ventilation systems, heating/cooling, energy efficiency and cabling of the study places. We want comfortable and safe places for all students!