Senator Urges SLB to Extend Deadline for Late Applications


Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Kern Spencer, has called on the Student Loan Bureau (SLB) to consider an extension date for the estimated 300 persons who did not get the opportunity to submit their applications last week.
He was speaking on the motion for adjournment at yesterday’s sitting of the Senate at Gordon House. Senator Spencer said that while he was not supporting negligence or tardiness on the part of applicants, in many instances, there were valid reasons for late submissions.
Supporting the appeal, Opposition Senator Bruce Golding suggested that the SLB should create one deadline for submission of applications and another to submit the supporting documentation. “At least they (the SLB) would be able to say, you have no reason for not submitting your applications by the application deadline and then, if they have to consider an extension of the deadline for documentation, you would then confine it to those persons who have in fact submitted applications,” he reasoned.
Senator Golding pointed out that the impression that was conveyed by recent media reports, following last week’s rush to submit applications, which saw students camping out on the SLB compound overnight, was that the students were recalcitrant, having known the deadline and failed to submit their applications on time.
“What I now understand is that the matter is more involved”, he said, explaining that that applications had to be accompanied by various pieces of documentation, the most important of which was evidence of not just a guarantor, but evidence of the guarantor’s capability to guarantee the loan.
He argued that it was difficult for many students, particularly poor students, to be able to identify guarantors who were willing to take on this financial liability and to further demonstrate that they had the capability to do so. “Many students are running up and down from one person to the next, trying to find a guarantor who meets all of the requirements,” he pointed out.
Since its establishment in 1970 the Student Loan Bureau has assisted over 50,000 persons in achieving tertiary education. Presently, there are some 30,000 persons benefiting. In excess of 6,000 students apply for loans annually, with an average of 85 per cent of these being successful. The Senate also used the opportunity to observe Education Week (from May 2 – 8) and to pay tribute to the positive contributions of the country’s 27,000 teachers.

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