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Brazil: New Quota Law Reserves 50% of the Places at Federal Universities for Public School Students

(Sept. 7, 2012) On August 29, 2012, Brazilian President Dilma Roussef signed Law No. 12,711 (Lei No. 12.711, de 29 de Agosto de 2012, PLANALTO.GOV.BR), which reserves 50% of the places at federal universities for students who attended a public school for the whole of their high school years (ensino médio) (art. 1). For federal technical institutions at the intermediate level, 50% of the spaces must be occupied by students who attended elementary and middle school (ensino fundamental) at a public institution (id. art. 4). Students from low-income families will be entitled to occupy 50% of both types of vacancies (i.e., 50% of the 50% quotas for universities and technical institutions) (id. arts. 1(§1) & 4(§1)).

Article 7 of the Law establishes that the government must revise, within ten years from the date of publication of the Law, the special program for admission of black, mulatto, and Indian students, as well as of those who have completed their high school education in public schools and at institutions of higher education. The federal universities initially must reserve, each year, at least 25% of the established quota of reserved places and will have four years to implement the full quota (id. art. 8). The admittance criteria will be the grade obtained by the student on the National Education Exam (Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio). (Junia Gama, Dilma Sanciona Lei de Cotas para Ingresso em Universidades Federais, O GLOBO (Aug. 29, 2012).)