Yogyakarta - Vice President, Prof. Dr. Boediono, greeted 150 student representatives who come from underprivileged families as Bidikmisi scholarship recipients at Senate Hall, Monday (17/10). As many as 10 representative of parents were also invited. At first, the meeting ran seriously. Understandably, the students had arrived two hours before the event.
Although being delayed for half an hour until 13.40, the Vice President finally turned up with a smile, waving his hand toward the audience. The Vice President directly headed to the seats that had been prepared by the committee and the VP protocol. One chair was provided for him, while two other seats for UGM Rector, Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi, M. Eng., Ph.D., and Director of Student Affairs, Drs. Haryanto, M.Si.
Initially, the atmosphere was serious, beginning with Rector’s welcome speech followed by the Vice President’s speech. When the event came to a dialogue with students and parents, guided by Director of Student Affairs, Haryanto, everything started to melt. The Vice President asked about the spending of Bidikmisi scholarship allowance of 600 thousand rupiah per month. "I want to know, how is the process of getting Bidikmisi scholarship? What is the money used for? Who knows it is to buy cigarettes for boys and cellular phone vouchers for girls?" Boediono said followed by audience’s laugh.
Some students took turns answering the Vice President’s questions. Some answered that the money is spent for books, to meet college requirements, and some admitted intentionally to save the money.
Then, it was time for one of student’s parents, Suradi, to answer the question. The man, who works daily as a seller of fried food in Surabaya, admitted that the money is not enough to meet the needs of their children studying in college. The money is collected to pay the rent of boarding house. He felt his burden will be greatly reduced if the children have the opportunity to live in the dorms for free. "But does that (scholarship) help?" The Vice President asked. "For the college tuition, it is secure. But I still have to think about the boarding house for my child. I still have to make more money," Suradi whose child is in Faculty of Forestry said.
The Vice President was touched when he asked one student from Bambanglipuro, Bantul. Sobbing, the student in veil who studies at Animal Health Diploma Program said that both her parents had died long ago. Now she lives with her grandmother.
Hearing this answer, the Vice President immediately said that the Bidikmisi scholarship money has to be utilized well by students. Nevertheless, the recipients have a moral responsibility after graduation they have to pay back the scholarship in the form of full devotion to the people. The scholarship funds given to thousands of students are drawn from the state budget funds, which is none other than public money. "Pay back to the people, not in the form of cash, but the dedication," he said.
Meeting students and parents of underprivileged families, Boediono admitted of feeling nostalgic about the beginning of his study at UGM in the 60's. At that time, he said the tuition at UGM was very cheap. In fact, the cost of living was very high because the economic condition of the country which was hit by the crisis. Although having 1.5 years at UGM, for Boediono it was the most fun moment in his life. "At the very least, enjoying 1.5 years (studying at UGM), getting a scholarship to study abroad, then I returned here to teach for a long time. UGM is part of my life. I have a very good memory here. This is a very populist university since long time ago," he concluded.