JIS: The Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) is reporting that for the 2017-2018 academic year it received 13,679 applications. for which more than $3.09 billion was disbursed, with an approval rate of 99 per cent.
The SLB provides loans as well as grants to help with non-tuition expenses to students pursuing tertiary studies.
Addressing a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ on March 14, State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, assured students that the Government is working to ensure that all persons who qualify to access tertiary education will be able to pursue their goal.
“As a Government we want to see more youth accessing tertiary education, and this is a policy directive at the SLB,” he said.
There are three types of loans that students may access – Targeted; Pay as you Study and Postgraduate.
Executive Director of the SLB, Monica Brown, who also addressed the ‘Think Tank’, said that under the Targeted loan type, where a majority of the students would access tertiary financing, they are required to repay the loan on completion of their studies.
The loan repayment period has been adjusted from 10 years to 15 or 20 years, depending on the programme of study.
Ms. Brown said that although students accessing Targeted loans are not required to make repayments during the in-school years, the SLB encourages those who are able to make payments during the moratorium period to do so, as this reduces the amount that will be left to repay on completion of their studies.
She pointed out that effective April 2016, the Bureau switched from using the ‘add on method’ to using the reducing balance method to calculate the interest rate on repayment, and this has resulted in significant savings for those who borrow from the SLB.
The applicable interest rate using the reducing balance is 7.8 per cent during the in-school years and 9.5 per cent when the loan enters repayment stage. Ms. Brown noted that there are areas given priority for the allocation of funds, particularly where the contributions to national development are greatest. They are agricultural studies, engineering, information technology and maritime and logistics studies. The interest rate repayment is six per cent on the reducing balance.
Applications, which are now open for persons who wish to access loans for the 2018-2019 academic year, will close on Thursday, May 31.
CAPTION: State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, addresses JIS ‘Think Tank’, on March 14. At right is Executive Director of the Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB), Ms. Monica Brown.