Front Page
June 27, 2014
Keep Student Loan Programme alive – Bonadie-Baker

Individuals who benefit from the Economically Disadvantaged Student Loan programme must repay so that the programme could continue in the future.

This point was made by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Nicole Bonadie-Baker, as she addressed the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College Graduation on Tuesday.{{more}}

Bonadie-Baker noted that graduates will soon be pursuing higher level education at universities and will be exploring the possibilities for funding this goal.

“Many of you will shortly complete or commence your preparations in your pursuit of tertiary education in your various disciplines. By this time, you should already, in your mind, have developed a clearly defined plan for embarking on your studies which you deem appropriate for making your dreams reality,” the permanent secretary said.

“Some of you will be approaching the National Student Loan Programme for financing, which I must warn you: you need to have a back-up plan.

“I’ll tell you why. There are two modes of financing under the National Student Loan Programme. Under both programmes, loans are recommended by a committee at 8.5 per cent interest rate up to a maximum of $120,000 for all areas of study with the exception of two. For studies in law and medicine, the maximum commitment moves up to $148,500.”

While the regular student loan programme requires that a student provide his/her own collateral, the economically disadvantaged loan does not require collateral. Instead, it is guaranteed by the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

However, Bonadie-Baker stressed that there are certain requirements that an individual must meet in order to obtain this loan.

“The student loan programme for the economically disadvantaged – there are an additional set of criteria which an applicant has to satisfy in order to qualify for loans which do not require collateral by the applicant, but instead are guaranteed by the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” she said.

“Students, please note: an applicant who is a member of a household that has significant capital assets which happen to be tied up at the time of the application does not make you an economically disadvantaged student. There are criteria, as I indicated which would qualify you for that loan. Remember there is not an unlimited source of finance available for the operation of the disadvantaged student loan programme, students are expected to repay their interest while studying and principal payments commence six months after completion of your studies; so, not because the Honourable Prime Minister affixes his signature to provide the collateral incentive by government, it is not the loan that you don’t pay back, as some people appear to think.”

The permanent secretary further encouraged recipients to pay back their loans in an effort to keep the programme, which is a revolving fund, running.

“Now, if students do not meet their monthly interest rate payment and principal repayment commitments, the scheme, which is a revolving scheme, is going to meet its demise and thereby prevent other students who follow you from accessing tertiary education,” Bonadie-Baker said.

Under the regular student loan programme, applicants must provide their own collateral to back the loans. A financial institution has the right to deny any loan requests made by students if their collateral is insufficient.(BK)