By Demion McTair. Updated 2:30 a.m., Friday, October 9, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – A one-year waiver will be given to recipients of student loans for the academic year starting September 1, 2020 and ending on August 31, 2021.
At a virtual LIVE rally on October 8, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the waiver will be for those who graduated and those who are still on the student loan.
Dr. Gonsalves said the waiver is a “substantial relief” for students taking student loans.
There are students paying 600-700 dollars per month on their student loans and a significant portion of the monies go towards the interest of the loans, he said.
The prime minister said that as of the current academic year, he has been in discussions with the head of the Student Loan Company, Mr. Stewart Haynes to reduce the interest rates on loans to either 5 or 6 percent. He said he has been aiming to reduce the rate to 5-percent.
He said when the figures are generated for both the 5-percent range and the 6-percent range, a final decision will be made as to the reduction in the interest rate.
The current interest rate on student loans is 8.5 percent.
THE STUDENT LOAN PROGRAM, ACCORDING TO THE NIS WEBSITE
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 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).
Loans will be granted for courses of up to 5 years duration. The students or their guarantors are required to provide acceptable collateral to the lender who reserves the right to decline at its discretion.
Read more about the program on the NIS website.