By Demion McTair. Updated 8:59 a.m. Friday, August 4, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) says that it will provide “cheaper student loans” by lowering interest rates.
In a post, today on the NDP’s official Facebook page, the party says that “Expensive student loans continue to burden our young professionals making it hard for them to truly get going after working very hard to gain a better life through education”.
“For this reason, Dr. Friday and the NDP team have committed when elected to lowering interest rates on student loans to 4.5% from 8.5%, ” the party says.
On its official website, the National Insurance Services (NIS), the state agency responsible for the loan program, states that the National Student Loan Programme was introduced in 1994.
“It is intended to provide loans to students who wish to pursue studies and who upon completion of their studies are expected to contribute to the Economic and Social Development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, ” the NIS website states.
“The maximum limit on a loan is EC$ 120,000 and an interest of 8.5% per annum is charged. Students may choose to have their interest capitalised during the period of study. Borrowers will be required to repay the loan by monthly installments over a period of not more than 12 years commencing not later than 3 months after the date of the student’s employment after completion of the programme of study or 6 months after completion of the programme of study (whichever first occurs), ” the NIS website states.
In 2002, shortly after the ULP Government came into office, it made a policy decision to allocate a proportion of the funds for the Student Loan Programme to assist the most indigent segment of the population.
The principal beneficiaries under this programme are those persons who have the ability, but lack the financial and other resources to qualify for assistance under the Standard Student Loan Scheme, the NIS website states.
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines guarantees the loans for such students.