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26,000 Private College Openings in Brazil Reserved to Blacks

Brazilian students eligible under quotas favoring the handicapped, blacks, mulattoes, and Indians should be able to count on 30% of the 90 thousand openings available in private universities through the University for All Program (ProUni) in the first semester of 2006.

Altogether, there will be more than 26 thousand spots for students admitted under the quota system. According to data from the Ministry of Education (MEC), Brazil expects to fulfill the National Educational Plan, which provides for a larger number of students in higher education. Only 9% of Brazilian youth in the 18-24 age bracket currently attend universities. The goal is to raise this percentage to 40%.

For students who desire to participate in the ProUni under the quota system, there is a fixed percentage of scholarships reserved for them based on IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) data identifying the percentages of blacks and Indians in each state.

According to the director of the MEC’s Department of Modernization and Higher Education Programs, Celso Carneiro, one must declare himself a person of Afro-Brazilian descent in order to be eligible under the quota system.

"The MEC accepts personal declarations, as the law recommends. In the case of Indians, we require some complementary information from the candidate, such as the ethnic group to which he belongs and what language he speaks," he said.

Carneiro also affirmed that students have been able to apply without difficulties. According to him, 550 thousand candidates have already applied.

To participate in the process, students must have achieved the minimum score required on the 2005 National Secondary School Exam (Enem) and attended public schools for all of their secondary education or been full scholarship recipients at private schools.

Their family income cannot exceed three minimum wages per family member. The deadline for enrolling in the ProUni is January 2.

Agência Brasil

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