United Nations              
Non-contributory Social Protection Programmes Database
Latin America and the Caribbean
Avancemos (2006-)



Date: 2006-
Web: Official website of the programme
Description: Conditional cash transfer programme with emphasis on preventing school drop out in secondary education.


Target population: Families with young people between 12 and 25 years old who are struggling to keep their children in the educational system due to economic reasons.
Geographic scale: National
Targeting method: 1) Geographical: As part of the strategy "Puente al Desarrollo" (Bridge to Development), census sweeps are made to collect information from families in the 75 poorest districts of Costa Rica according to the poverty map of the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC).
2) Proxy means test. Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the SIPO (Target Population Information System).
3) Categorical: Families with young people in sixth and last year of primary education who have received scholarships from the National Scholarship Fund (FONABE).
Instrument of selection: Information System on the Target Population (SIPO), which is based on the Social Information Card (FIS).
Registry of recipients: Beneficiary Assistance System (SABEN).
Exit strategies or criteria: Recertification every two and a half years. The transfer is cancelled if the recipient leaves the educational system.
Comments: The programme forsees incentives for savings and transfers to support the offer of education. However, to date only the conditional cash transfer component has been developed.
Families can be part of the family support programme through the "Puente al Desarrollo" (Bridge to Development) strategy.
In 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, compliance with co-responsibility in Education was suspended.


Legal framework: Executive Decree no. 33154-MP-Mideplan-MEP-MTSS-MIVAH; Decree 33677MP-MEP-MIVAH
Responsible organization(s): Department of Housing and Social Development
Executing organization(s): Joint Institute for Social Aid (IMAS)
Responsible organization(s) for the registry of recipients: Joint Institute for Social Aid (IMAS)
Source of funding: Government of Costa Rica

1) Transferencia monetaria condicionada (Conditional Cash Transfer)

Recipient(s): Children between 12 and 25 years old enrolled in secondary public school.
Mode of transfer: The transfer is according to recipient´s characteristics (differentiated amounts according education level).
Mode of delivery: Deposit in bank account
Periodicity of delivery: Monthly
Recipient of the transfer: Head of household
Maximum per household: No maximum of recipient children per household from 2015
Conditionalities: Education: Support and ensure punctual school attendance of students; Supporting students to pass the school year.
Health: Students should receive comprehensive health assessment during the year by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS)
Sanctions: Education: Suspension of transfer in case of school dropout. The transfers are suspended if the student do not atend at least 80% of the classes, or approves the class. The student can repeat the course twice. If the student has to take the class for the fourth time, he/she will lose his participation in the program temporarily. Once the student approves the course that he repeated more than twice, he/she can re-enter the program.
Health: The transfer corresponding to the month of January is suspended in the event of non compliance with health conditionalities.
Comments: In 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, compliance with co-responsibility in Education was suspended.
Amount : From 2017, the transfer amounts are CRC $30.000 for students in the third cycle of the education system in Costa Rica (i.e. the first three levels of secondary education: 7°, 8° and 9°); and CRC $40.000 for students in the fourth cycle of education (10°, 11° y 12°). See selected figures in Excel format.


Cash transfers in Latin America: Effects on poverty and redistribution

Author: Amarante, V., and Brun, M.
Date: 2016
Publication info: WIDER Working Paper 2016/136
Link: See Webpage
Topic: Evaluation


How does Avancemos work? Best practices in the implementation of monetary conditional cash transfers in Latin America and the Caribeean

Author: Hernández Romero, K
Date: 2016
Publication info: IDB, Division of Social Protection and Health. Technical Note No. IDB-TN-931
Link: See Webpage
Topic: Descritive technical note


Sustentabilidad de los programas de transferencias condicionadas: la experiencia del Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social y el Programa -Avancemos- en Costa Rica. Taller de expertos Protección social, pobreza y enfoque de derechos: vínculos y tensiones

Author: Román, Isabel
Date: 2009
Publication info: ECLAC [online]
Link: See Webpage
Topic: Social Policies in Costa Rica




Cooperation with:

© United Nations - ECLAC - Social Development Division