The Ministry of Education and Research approved 14 applicants for its 2011 Compatriots Program scholarship, which gives Estonians living abroad the chance to study in Estonian public universities and applied higher education institutions.Eighteen candidates put in for the scholarship this year, originating from neighboring countries Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Sweden as well as from farther away Brazil and Kenya. To qualify, candidates cannot have not lived permanently in Estonia for at least 10 years.
For the first time, those receiving the scholarship this year will need to take an Estonian language test. If their language skills aren't sufficient - as was the case for half of them - the students are required to spend the first year of their studies taking intensive Estonian language and different courses.When they begin their studies this fall, 10 of the students will be attending the University of Tartu. Two will be studying at Tallinn University, one at the Tallinn University of Technology, one at the University of Life Sciences and one at a gardening school in Räpina. Eight of the students have Estonian citizenship.
In addition to the new students, another 26 will continue their studies through the program in the coming academic year.Two students from Russia finished their studies this spring. One earned her master's degree in public relations from the University of Tartu and another received an applied higher education degree in mechatronics at a school in Võru County.In 2010, there were 23 applicants from seven countries, 11 of whom were awarded scholarships. Around 20 Estonians from abroad have completed their schooling with the help of the Compatriots Program scholarship over the years.