SLB Reports Increase in Applications for Discounted Interest Rate Loans

Photo: Adrian Walker Education, Youth and Information State Minister, Hon. Floyd Green (centre), listens as Executive Director of the Students’ Loan Bureau, Monica Brown (right), addresses a recent JIS Think Tank, where she gave an update on the SLB’s activities. Also attending is Policy Analyst at the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (JTEC), Tracey-Ann Smith.

Story Highlights

  • The Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) is reporting a 47 per cent increase in loan applications for tertiary courses, for which the interest rate on repayments is significantly discounted.
  • Executive Director, Monica Brown, told a recent JIS Think Tank, which was held at the Agency’s head office in Kingston, that the areas include agriculture studies, engineering, information technology, and maritime and logistics studies, for which the interest rate has decreased to six per cent since the start of the 2017/18 academic year.
  • This move is part of the SLB’s undertaking to incentivise students’ selection of courses regarded as priority programmes, rather than those commonly chosen by their peers, which are reportedly often oversubscribed.

The Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) is reporting a 47 per cent increase in loan applications for tertiary courses, for which the interest rate on repayments is significantly discounted.

Executive Director, Monica Brown, told a recent JIS Think Tank, which was held at the Agency’s head office in Kingston, that the areas include agriculture studies, engineering, information technology, and maritime and logistics studies, for which the interest rate has decreased to six per cent since the start of the 2017/18 academic year.

She advised that all loans applications submitted, to date, have been approved.

This move is part of the SLB’s undertaking to incentivise students’ selection of courses regarded as priority programmes, rather than those commonly chosen by their peers, which are reportedly often oversubscribed.

State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, also encourages students to adequately research the status of courses in order to make the right choices.

Mr. Green, who also addressed the Think Tank, noted that students pursuing programmes commonly chosen by their peers tend to encounter challenges securing employment after completing their studies.

“It’s not just about doing what you feel like doing when you decide to pursue tertiary education… but you will have to see it as an ability to enable a better way of living. Therefore, I am imploring students to research the areas that are not saturated, (as) there are others not being pursued and need much more people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Policy Analyst at the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (JTEC), Tracey-Ann Smith, said the JTEC will be embarking on several activities aimed at assisting students in making their choices.

As part of its public education efforts, JTEC has staged a series of road shows with high-school students, explaining some of the affiliated costs for tertiary education. Additionally, they have established a programme tuition fee database on their website.

According to Mrs. Smith, this database has a collation of over 200 degree programmes from various institutions, detailing the costs and comparing them by institutions, so that students may get the best value for money. The Commission has also distributed the findings from its annual survey of tertiary institutions looking at enrolment figures, retention and graduation rates, the number and types of degrees awarded, financial assistance to students, and areas of sustainable and strategic planning.

“The JTEC’s mandate is to examine the cost of tertiary education as well as to look at the rate of return on investment. We are encouraging students to do proper planning and research as they prepare to pursue tertiary education,” Mrs. Smith said.

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