Categorized | National News

MOE Says Progress Being Made In Loan Program

With thousands of Bahamian college students set to enter their respective institutions many of them will need assistance with funds to help pay for their classes, Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald gave an update on the education loan assistance program and how persons are beginning to pay the government back.

Mr. Fitzgerald who spoke to reporters yesterday outside of Cabinet said despite an overwhelmingly large number of persons being in the default, progress is being made.

“The number is substantial, about 80 per cent of the persons are in the default but we have been unable to bring that number even though I can’t recall the exact figure at this moment, but those who are managing the scheme said they are encouraged by the response and people are coming forward and making arrangements to meet their obligations,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

Mr. Fitzgerald added that amendments to the law have made payments somewhat easier but also urged those that still owe money to be forthcoming with reimbursing the government.

“We had made some adjustments to the law which allowed us to rework some of the loan payments and bring them down and that has been very successful.

“Persons are coming in and I want to encourage them to continue to come and work with us and we’re prepared to work with you, at the end of the day we want to get the program started again because it is a program for Bahamian kids and those who benefitted from it need to pay as it is your responsibility.

“You signed for it and it’s the people’s money and we want to have a pot of funds available for those students coming in,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

He added that government is working with persons understanding that there are legitimate reasons why they can’t pay back ranging from injury and some cases death, but he says to those who can pay but don’t want to pay they will be taken to court.

Since passage of the Act in 2002, 3,938 Bahamians in New Providence; 669 in Grand Bahama; and 126 throughout the Family Islands have benefited from the program.

The program was suspended in August 2009 as a result of a delinquency rate of 75 per cent in student loan repayments.

On October 21, 2015 the education loan (amendment) act 2015 came into force. In addition to collecting funds, the new act addresses delinquencies, rewards borrowers who are paying and/or genuinely want to honor their obligations, and empowers the authority to collect funds.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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