Gov’t will fund UG student loans – Finance Minister

Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh today said that the government will fund UG student loans to the amount of increased tuition fees. There had been some concerns about this because of the opposition’s non-approval of funds for a programme which included the student loan scheme and higher tuition fees announced recently by the university.

The Ministry of Finance statement follows:

Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh today stated that the Government of Guyana 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.

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. The Minister also 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 emphasised 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. The University needs to make a more concerted effort to streamline its operations to ensure value for money, more prudent management, and a sustained higher quality of teaching and research output, stated the Finance Minister.

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.

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