President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Sunday, revealed that government expenditure over the state-funded undergraduate degree scheme had reached over MVR 130 million.
Speaking at the ceremony held to award presidential scholarships to high achievers, President Solih revealed that the programme had benefited a total of 6,250 students.
According to the president, 54 students are currently attaining higher education in seven countries under the presidential scholarship while 1,480 students are studying in 24 countries under government-provided loan assistance.
Additionally, 117 students were noted to be studying abroad under high achiever's scholarships.
Offering state-funded undergraduate degrees was among President Solih's key electoral pledges.
At present, the scheme is fully applicable only to courses offered by the Maldives National University (MNU) and the Islamic University of Maldives (IUM). A substantial portion of course fees charged by private colleges operating in Maldives is also covered by the government.
By 2023, the government aims to provide at least 25,000 students with the opportunity to study under a free undergraduate degree scheme, award higher education scholarships to a minimum of 1,000 students and enable at least 2,500 students to take out loans to pursue tertiary education.
The parliament's Committee on National Development And Heritage has advocated for the government's undergraduate degree policy to be enacted as a law.
Chair of the parliamentary sub-committee formed to review the recently proposed Education Bill, lawmaker representing Baarah, Haa Alif Atoll MP Ahmed Abdulla expressed concern over the possibility of numerous students being cut off from financial assistance following future policy changes within the education sector.