JIS News

The Students' Loan Bureau (SLB) expects its first drawdown of US$5 million on the US$20 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), before the end of the current fiscal year.

The loan, which was secured through a Government guarantee, will increase the pool of funds available to students wishing to pursue tertiary level studies.

Chairman of the SLB's Council, Worrick Bogle, speaking at a press conference on January 27 at the institution's New Kingston office, noted the “phenomenal” growth in the number of applications annually, which is “far outstripping our resources”.

He said the SLB is forced to continuously seek funds externally by borrowing, as well as capital injection from the Government. He said the CDB's input will significantly boost its efforts to provide funding assistance to tertiary students.

Chief Technical Advisor in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Wayne Henry, noted the SLB’s pivotal role in national development through its provision of a sustainable tertiary revolving loan facility.

“The role of education, the role of training, skills development is extremely important. Education is a tremendous important pillar in any development paradigm and so the SLB is critical to Jamaica’s development and regional development,” he stated.

“So, we are very pleased, on behalf of the Government, to extend our sincere gratitude to the CDB and to the management and staff of the bank,” Dr. Henry said.

The loan period runs for a maximum of 18 years at an interest rate of 4.8 per cent per annum. The SLB will drawdown US$5 million per annum over the next four years, with a moratorium on the repayment of the principal over that period.

Repayments on the principal and interest will be made on a quarterly basis.