Dreams deferred in Brazil as teetering Rousseff slashes student loans

viernes 29 de abril de 2016 12:01 GYT

By Juliana Schincariol

CARUARU, Brazil, April 29 (Reuters) - Jordânia Feitosa was three months into nursing studies at a private university in northeast Brazil when she learned her student loan application had been denied.

Unable to afford the fees, the 18-year old farmer's daughter dropped out and now hopes against high odds to land a coveted slot at a free public university.

Like many of her age, Feitosa feels betrayed by a leftist government that during 13 years in power has prided itself on economic and social gains for Brazil's giant working class.

President Dilma Rousseff, facing likely impeachment less than two years after being re-elected with campaign vows to broaden educational programs, instead is slashing the financing available to aspiring students.

"Everyone used to get a loan," Feitosa says. "All that has gone wrong with education is the government's fault."

Struggling to curtail a spiraling budget deficit, Rousseff's administration last year cut by half the number of loans made available for low-income students through the government's Student Finance Fund (FIES).

It is just one of many reversals made by the ruling Workers Party as Rousseff, who could be forced from office by mid-May, seeks to reorder erratic government finances.

The 68-year old president, who denies any wrongdoing, is expected to face trial in Brazil's Senate in May over budget irregularities. If that happens, she will be suspended from office and replaced by her vice-president, Michel Temer, an opposition leader who broke with her as impeachment became more likely.   Continuación...