JIS News

Story Highlights

  • New and returning tertiary students are being reminded that the deadline to apply for Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) funding is May 31, 2016.
  • Meanwhile, as of April 1, 2016, the SLB began charging interest on the reducing loan balances for new and returning students. Previously, the institution used the add-on method where interest is computed on the principal amount borrowed.
  • The entity, which began operations in 1970, was made a statutory body in 1971.

New and returning tertiary students are being reminded that the deadline to apply for  Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) funding is May 31, 2016.

“This is only for the general loan that people repay after they have completed their programme of study,” said Public Education and Public Relations Manager at the SLB,  Analisa Allen.

In  a recent interview with JIS News,   she informed that with another loan type, Pay As You Study, there is no application period for that.

“That product is different from the targeted loan in that this is repaid while you are in the programme via salary deductions. So, someone who is employed must take that loan. Similarly, with the post graduate loan, there is no application period and repayment is via salary deduction on a monthly basis,” Ms Allen said.

She is also  encouraging prospective students to begin  their application process, as an acceptance letter is not needed right now.

“When you get the acceptance letter, take it in. We try not to have people pre-empt or avoid applying until they get the acceptance letter, because it will be too late at that point,” Ms. Allen said.

She explained that persons having difficulties getting guarantors should inform the Bureau, “so that we can have dialogue with you as to how you go about doing a sole guarantor process.”

“We have also changed our policy recently to allow corporate guarantors. So, if an entity wants to be a guarantor,  you can do that as well,” she added.

Meanwhile, as of April 1, 2016, the SLB began charging interest on the reducing loan balances for new and returning students. Previously, the institution used the add-on method where interest is computed on the principal amount borrowed.

Ms. Allen said this will result in repayments being smaller and more manageable for persons.

“The reducing balance method (RBM) affects the repayment for students, showing that beneficiaries will have significant savings, compared to that of the previous add on interest rate of nine per cent,” she said.

Ms. Allen  noted that the monthly amount payable by beneficiaries under the RBM will be reduced by an average of 28 per cent, making the repayments more affordable to beneficiaries.

She  said  this reduction is expected to positively impact the SLB’s collections rate and by extension the reflows into the revolving loan fund.

“So, under the RBM method, persons who make their monthly instalments in full and on time will reap significant rewards,”  Ms. Allen added.

For the 2015/16 academic year, $4.2 billion was disbursed to approximately 12,500 beneficiaries in loans.  Some 93 per cent of applicants were successful in accessing a loan.

The SLB is Jamaica’s premier student loan-financing organisation committed to ensuring that qualified, needy Jamaican students have equal access to financial assistance to pursue tertiary education.

The entity, which began operations in 1970, was made a statutory body in 1971.