Student Meal Is Not “State Income” Nor Does It Apply To “All Young People”
This is another sensational “clickbait” headline, which misinforms that all young people can apply for a monthly income from the state. In fact, the Ministry of Education and Science informs that until 31 December, all full-time students enrolled in state and private universities can apply for a subsidized student meal. This means it is a subsidy, i.e. state aid, not a monthly income
Three disinformation in one headline are shared on Facebook, which, in fact, conveys every word of a statement made by the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) on a public call for applications for a student meal.
Receive Monthly Income from the State: All Young People Can Apply – Here Are the Details
This is the title of the text in which the Ministry of Education and Science informs that until 31 December, all full-time students enrolled in state and private universities can apply for subsidies of 120 denars for a student meal.
The title is a typical “clickbait” title, which misinforms and wants to lead the users of social networks to click it. After opening the text, readers read content that is inappropriate for the title.
First, the subsidized student meal is not a monthly income from the state, as stated in the title. It is a subsidy, i.e. state aid, not a monthly income. This form of financial aid for students from the country is regulated by the Law on Subsidized Student Meal, adopted by the Assembly on 5 February 2020. Article 8 of this Law states:
The subsidizing of the student meal is done from the funds of the Budget of the Republic of North Macedonia which are used only for that purpose.
The law authorizes the Minister to prescribe the form and content of the application, as well as the manner and conditions in the application procedure for beneficiaries of subsidized student meals. In this function is the announcement issued by the Ministry of Education and Science, which invites students to apply, explaining that it refers to full-time students who have so far failed to apply for the subsidy.
Monthly income is the income received on the basis of employment, including the income under a contract for temporary services of state administration bodies, domestic and foreign legal entities, as well as domestic and foreign individuals performing an independent activity to which the state income tax is paid (Law on Personal Income Tax).
The monthly fee is also regular income throughout the calendar year, which is not the case with the subsidized student meal, which is the second disinformation. Students receive the subsidy for a period of 9 months, during the academic year. The law stipulates that this right is not exercised “from 1 July to 14 September in the year in which the student acquired the right to a subsidized student meal, as well as during state, religious holidays and non-working days” (Article 5, Law on Subsidized Student Meal).
And the third disinformation from the title is that “all young people can apply”, which is incorrect.
Beneficiaries of the subsidized student meal are only full-time undergraduate students at state and private universities, citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia, as prescribed by the Law.
As further explained in the announcement of the Ministry of Education and Science, with the subsidized student meal, full-time students “receive 2,400 denars for 9 months of the year, intended for the purchase of healthy meals”.
All full-time students enrolled in undergraduate studies at state and private higher education institutions, citizens of the Republic of Macedonia who are not in full-time employment, are not registered as individual farmers and have no monthly income on any basis greater than the minimum salary in our country are eligible for this financial support, the statement reads.
According to the Ministry, this right to a subsidized student meal has so far been exercised by 27,319 students, to whom funds are regularly transferred to personal transaction accounts.
Given all of the above, this is another sensationalist “clickbait” headline, which misinforms, and the media failed to accurately convey a simple statement from a government institution.