Gov’t to fund student loans for increased tuition fees

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Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh.
Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh has announced that the government will be providing funding for student loans to be granted to students of the University of Guyana to meet the cost of the increased tuition fees recently announced by the University.

In a press release from the Ministry, the Minister explained that the Cabinet had concluded its deliberations on the matter yesterday, having examined it exhaustively, and decided that student loans will be granted to cover the new tuition fees.

On August 13, Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Jacob Opadeyi threatened to shut down the University in the second week of the semester if the Ministry of Finance continues to be unresponsive in dealing with the issues of student loans to ensure students gain access.

Meanwhile, Dr Singh clarified that, as before, the loans granted to finance tuition fees will not include the facilities fee which has historically been paid by students outside of the student loan arrangement.

As a result of this decision, Minister Singh indicated that he had issued the necessary directive for the Student Loan Agency to commence processing loan applications immediately for the coming academic year.

Minister Singh emphasised that the decision by Government to grant the increased student loans was made as a result of this Government’s commitment to ensure that no Guyanese student is denied access to University education because of affordability.

The Minister also noted that the increased revenue earned by the University through the new tuition fees provides the University with an important opportunity to make the necessary changes to ensure better effectiveness in its operations.

At the same time, Minister Singh indicated that the Cabinet expressed its continuing concern about the poor rate of repayment of loans previously granted, and urged increased voluntary compliance, even as Government considers options for strengthening enforcement to raise repayment rates.

The ideal option, Minister Singh declared, would be for persons to act responsibly and repay previous loans they were granted voluntarily without any stringent enforcement measures having to be applied.

On April 16, the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For change (AFC) joined forces to cut the Ministry of Finance’s capital programme under which a number of developmental programmes and initiatives fall including an allocation of $450M for the provision of loans to students of the University of Guyana.

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