JIS News

New application forms for persons seeking loans from the Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) are to be introduced this year.
Executive Director of the Students’ Loan Bureau, Lenice Barnett said that the new application forms would determine persons who were genuinely in need of a loan.
Mrs. Barnett made the disclosure while addressing a seminar last week for principals and guidance counsellors at the University of the West Indies (UWI) under the theme: ‘UWI Experience: Challenges and Opportunities’.
She said that the new application forms were necessary because oftentimes persons who received loans were not the ones in need of it. Citing an example of this, she said that of the 17 per cent of applicants who declared zero income last year, many were giving a statement of their expenses in the region of 600,000 per year.
“The Bureau recognizes that we have very clever Jamaicans .so we had to do some research in that group because in that group there are genuine cases. Again that highlights another role that we have to play, the issue of integrity has become something that you are almost ashamed to admit that there is such a lack of it in our society but it is prevalent even at that age,” she said.
Mrs. Barnett said that to eliminate these persons, the Bureau has changed the format of the application forms, which now incorporates new questions and will help to identify students who were on the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) during their high school years.
She explained that new and returning students would have to fill out this new application form because a lot of the information was lacking on the previous form. “We have come to realize that in the mix of persons who have been cleared who are at or below the poverty line, there has been some clever ones.”
Turning to the issue of delinquency, Mrs. Barnett said that teachers and parents needed to inculcate a culture where students were taught that if they borrowed a loan they should be obliged to repay it.
“Repaying the loans is not a part of the culture. It is also a matter of value and culture. There are some students from certain schools that will repay. They have a tendency to come in before you find them,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director also disclosed that last year in excess of 380 loans that were approved were cancelled because applicants failed to complete the application process.
Mrs. Barnett noted that in these cases the applicants, did not pay insurance fees or have their guarantors come in to sign the required documents.
Stressing the importance for applicants to complete the process, Mrs. Barnett said that applicants should inform the Bureau if they were experiencing problems.
Meanwhile, applicants are urged to complete applications for loans before the April 30 deadline. Application forms are available at the Bureau’s office, Mutual Life Centre, at 1 Kensington Crescent in Kingston.

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