Despite the recession, Yale and the Mexican Council on Science and Technology have agreed to increase financial aid for Mexican students admitted to Yale doctoral programs.

University President Richard Levin and two representatives of the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, or CONACYT, signed an agreement Thursday morning allowing Mexican nationals accepted into a doctoral program at Yale to apply to CONACYT for additional funding to help them complete their studies. The two institutions originally teamed up to provide assistance to Mexican graduate students in 1992, but Thursday’s documents alter the terms: CONACYT used to offer qualified students a loan to help cover their expenses while in New Haven, which had to be paid back, but it will now offer a grant.

“The agreement with CONACYT has given us the opportunity to educate some highly influential Mexican intellectuals over the years,” Levin said. “It has been a strong historical relationship. They send us excellent students.”

CONACYT General Director Juan Carlos Romero Hicks said the financial aid opportunities available to doctoral students at Yale make the agreement possible; the University pays the full tuition of all students enrolled in the program, along with a stipend of at least $25,500 per year and free health insurance.

Mexican students accepted into a Yale doctoral program can apply to CONACYT for additional funding. In the past, the Consejo awarded some students a loan of up to $5,000 per year to supplement their Yale financial aid. Under the terms of the new agreement, the loan will be replaced by a grant of no less than $3,600 per year, said Joao Aleixo, assistant secretary for the Office of International Affairs.

“We’re trying to make the program more appealing to students,” Aleixo said. “We’re trying to recruit the most talented Mexican students to come to Yale, and we want more students to apply.”

CONACYT has also agreed to help increase awareness of Yale in Mexico by encouraging high-achieving students to apply to University programs and publicizing financial aid options, Hicks said.

Hicks said the Consejo has not capped the number of students it is willing to fund, adding that he would like to see as many Mexican doctoral candidates as possible come to Yale.

Thirteen Mexican students have received CONACYT funding to come to Yale since 2004, Aleixo said.

CONACYT is an arm of the Mexican federal government intended to advance the country’s scientific and technological development.