JIS News

The Government has guaranteed a US$20 million loan by the Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB), as the agency seeks to increase the pool of funds available to students wishing to pursue tertiary level studies.
Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Information and Telecommunications, Hon. Daryl Vaz, informed journalists of the loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) during today’s (September 15) post- Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.
Mr. Vaz said that the loan from the CDB was intended to top up the SLB’s funds given the “growing demand for student loans and the Government’s inability to increase the level of support to tertiary level educational institutions.”
He explained that the loan guarantee fee was at a rate of 0.125 per cent in accordance with the Approved Organisations and Authorities Loan Government Guarantee Act.
The Government of Jamaica will reimburse the borrower, the SLB, the equivalent of any foreign exchange loss incurred in the preceding year on account of any devaluation of the Jamaican Dollar and as a result of repayment of the loan in United States Dollars.
Mr. Vaz explained that such losses by the SLB would “significantly increase the debt burden of each sub-loan, student loan” were the loan not guaranteed by the Government.
At the beginning of the 2010/11 academic year, the SLB had processed some 10,000 loan applications for tertiary level students, of which only six were yet to be approved. This was in line with the approval rate of up to 98 per cent in the recent past.
The SLB initially operated through seed funding derived from a World Bank loan, then later by loans from the Inter-American Development Bank, other multilateral agencies and funding institutions. However, with the SLB, being a revolving loan fund, it is largely dependent on repayments to replenish its pool of loanable funds.

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