According to an announcement made by deputy PM Viorel Stefan on Tuesday, the government is planning to start the “Invest in youself” programme next week, which will offer state-guaranteed, interest-free loans of up to RON 40,000 for education, health, sports and culture to young people who are enrolled in studies and unemployed.
The loan could be up to RON 20,000 higher if the recipient is employed or gets a job during the programme, and deputy PM Viorel Stefan added that it is not exclusively for young people, but that up to 8 million Romanians can be eligible.
“The loan is RON 40,000 for young people between 16 and 26 years old, and it can grow by RON 20,000 if they are employed or become employed during the programme. The programme especially targets young people, but not exclusively. It is related to the investments a person can make in his or her own development, specifically in education, culture or health. The programme will also include investments in the personal development of the recipient’s family member,” Stefan said.
The main reasons for the programme’s development are the high youth unemployment (18.3 percent), the high number of young people who leave the country, the lack of qualified workforce in some areas of the country, the difficulties low-income young people have in finishing their studies, as well as the challenges faced by people aged around 55 when they seek employment or professional reconversion.
“Interest is zero for the recipient and all bank fees and interest rates will be paid by the state through the budget of the National Strategy and Prognosis Commission, as long as the loan instalments are paid on time,” added the deputy PM.
The loan period is maximum ten years, including the grace period, which needs to be at least equal to the duration of studies, but a maximum of 5 years.
Eligible expenses are mainly related to education: payment of vocational courses, further education tuition fees (Master’s degrees, PhDs, MBAs) at Romanian universities, paying for books, resources, specialised magazines, scientific event and competition participation rates in Romania or abroad, acquisition of computers, laptops, software or printers. Expenses can also include rent, utilities, accommodation in university halls, as well as tuition fees for kindergarten or private schools in Romania.
Culture-related expenses can include: subscriptions for cinema, theatre, opera, libraries and museums, costs for publishing books or studies, instruments and equipment for cultural performances.
Health-related expenses include: medical drugs, lab tests, dental work, surgeries that are not already covered by other national programme. For sports, the loan can cover personal use sports equipment or gym memberships.
Furthermore, the programme can also cover a part of building or purchasing a home, as well as home upgrades or refurbishments.