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Disbursement of student grant for 2019/20 school year largely completed
     A spokesman for the Education Bureau (EDB) today (September 1) said that the provision of a student grant to secondary day school, primary school and kindergarten students in the 2019/20 school year has been largely completed, while the preparation work for the 2020/21 school year is well under way.

     The Government provided a one-off student grant of $2,500 for secondary day school, primary school and kindergarten students in the 2019/20 school year and subsequently, in view of the epidemic, increased the grant by $1,000 to $3,500 to alleviate parents' financial burden in defraying extra expenses during class suspension. Starting from the 2020/21 school year, the provision of the student grant of $2,500 will be regularised.

     The spokesman said, "In the 2019/20 school year, we received a total of about 876 000 applications. Except for less than 1 per cent of the cases that still require further follow-up with the schools or parents concerned owing to incomplete or incorrect information, all parents of eligible students have received the grant."
     The spokesman added, "In view of the epidemic, schools suspended their classes for months in the 2019/20 school year. This affected parents' submission of applications. The deadline for application was thus extended from February 14 to June 30 this year to allow more time for parents and schools to submit applications. We have been expediting the processing of the applications received and communicating with schools during the epidemic, with a view to disbursing the subsidy to parents of eligible students as soon as possible. Some of the information provided is incorrect, mainly in regard to inaccurate bank account information including bank codes and branch codes. As such, we have to contact the parents direct or through the schools concerned to follow up and amend the information before the grant could be disbursed."   
     The spokesman urged those applicants who have yet to submit the required information to contact the EDB at 3850 2000 or via email (spdoenquiry@edb.gov.hk) as soon as possible.

     In the 2020/21 school year, the EDB will continue to disburse the student grant of $2,500, and will implement the following enhancement measures:

(1) The application forms to be distributed in this school year will be pre-printed with the basic information of students who have been promoted to the next class level in the same school as well as that of the applicants. Parents only have to check the information and sign to confirm the accuracy before submitting the application forms to the EDB through schools. There is no need for them to fill in the application forms anew. For students who are newly admitted to a school or have transferred to another school, their applications will be processed as new ones;

(2) Taking into consideration that the provision of incorrect bank information is the reason for most delays in processing the applications, the EDB will provide a list of bank codes and branch codes to facilitate the completion of application forms;

(3) Starting from this school year, the EDB will contact parents via SMS and email as appropriate to inform them of the status of their applications (e.g. whether the application has been received, whether it is necessary to contact schools or the EDB to amend the information or provide supplementary information, or whether the subsidy has been disbursed);

(4) To assist schools to communicate with parents on issues concerning the student grant, the EDB will provide schools with progress reports on the applications on a regular basis, which will help schools and parents better understand the progress of the applications; and

(5) To assist parents and schools to check the application status of the student grant, the EDB will upgrade the interactive voice response telephone system of the hotline for the student grant, with a view to responding more promptly to enquiries from callers. 

     The spokesman added, "We plan to issue a circular memorandum to schools and letters to relevant organisations and institutions and announce the details of the student grant for the 2020/21 school year via the student grant website (www.edb.gov.hk/en/student-parents/support-subsidies/student-grant/index.html) within September 2020."
Ends/Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Issued at HKT 16:00
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