Student loan scheme in doubt

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A LOAN scheme proposed by the Government for students attending tertiary institutions beginning this year is yet to be finalised, it has been revealed.
Higher Education, Science, Research and Technology Minister Pila Niningi told The National that they were yet to finalise the “structure” of the scheme.
“The (proposed) student loan scheme will not be effective this year,” he said.
He said K100 million had been allocated in the budget but “it cannot be implemented this year as there is no structure in place”.
“But 2020 is definite. Students will be able to use the scheme (next year),” he said.
The Government had proposed the student loan scheme in March last year following public concern over the big increase in fees, especially at the University of PNG, at the start of the year.
The proposal was to help students pay their way through university or college, to ease the burden on parents especially those in rural areas.
Students are to repay the loan after they had graduated and found jobs.
Department Secretary Father Jan Czuba said they were still sorting out “certain things” to avoid any legislative implication on the loans.
He said they were developing various student loan scheme funding models and policy options.
Niningi said earlier they would work with the National Identification Office and banks to roll out the loan scheme.
“The loan will be provided by the Government but the money would be parked with banks who will then facilitate the student loans,” he said.
He clarified that there would be no “maximum and minimum” amount one could loan.
“Student loans will cater for the actual fees charged by the university or college,” Niningi said.
“So once a student obtains a loan, the money will be paid directly into the school’s accounts as fees. The students can start repaying the loan once they start working.”