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SLB 2005 Review.
Posted: Sunday | October 30, 2005

The Students’ Loan Bureau 2005 Performance Review

 $878 Million in SLB Loans & Grants Approved!
9 out of every 10 Applicant Receive Full Financing!

The Students’ Loan Bureau remains the mainstay of thousands of Jamaican students seeking financing for their tertiary education. Of the 6,433 persons who applied for student loan financing this year, 5,876 of them, or 9 out of every 10 loan applicant, received loans to cover the full cost of their tuition fees. In addition, the SLB awarded Government grants or grant-in-aid to 1,724 very needy students to assist in cost of living expenses.

Total expenditure on loans this year moved by to over $802 million, while grant-in-aid to the neediest of tertiary students stands at $78.7 million, as the SLB widened the approval net for more students in the face of rising tuition fees and the general socio-economic difficulties being faced by many students. In 2004, the SLB approved $550 million in loans to 4,964 applicants and over $65 million in grant-in-aid.

The Students’ Loan Bureau has also been quick to point out that it Bureau covers the full cost of tuition fees. “Every approved loan applicant is assured that his/her fee will be paid in full”, says Lenice Barnett, Executive Director of the 35-year old State Agency established to finance tertiary education in the nation. “In point of fact, the SLB makes budgetary provisions every year for increased tuition fees and disburses funds directly to each institution on behalf of the successful loan applicant”, added Mrs. Barnett.

A Major Source of Financing for UWI Students: 40% SLB Financing go to UWI Students

The lion’s share of SLB financing goes to the students of the University of the West Indies, covering all faculties and campuses for programmes at Mona, St. Augustine In Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados and for the Hospitality Management Programme in the Bahamas.

The Bureau approved 2,346 loans to UWI students, which was approximately 90% of the 2,632 who applied between January and April this year. 622 of these students also received grant-in-aid to help with their living expenses.

In point of fact, the UWI accounts for nearly 40% of total SLB loan financing funds, a trend which has been consistent over the years.

Only the University of Technology, Jamaica ranks nearest the UWI, accounting for just under 31% of SLB funds for 2005. 1,975 UTech students applied for loans during this year’s application cycle; 1,804 received loans, of which 460 were awarded grant-in-aid. Combined, the UWI and UTech, Jamaica account for 71% of the Students’ Loan Bureau’s expenditure on loans and grants for the 2005 Loan Financing cycle.

Northern Caribbean University had 864 students applying for SLB loan financing during the period; 816 received loans, of which 322 were awarded grant-in-aid.

The highest rate of approval among SLB loan has traditionally been among students in teachers colleges and community colleges. This trend did not change during the 2005 loan application cycle; 96% of applicants from teachers colleges and community college were successful in receiving SLB loans and grants.

From the drama of the last-minute rush of students in April every year around Easter to the SLB’s relentless pursuit of chronic delinquent borrowers, public understanding and appreciation for the challenges of administering the Student Loan Financing Scheme are well known and documented.

With the momentum of public support for its work and value, the SLB measures its success by the increasing number of loans disbursed over the years through the Students’ Loan Revolving Programme, and the many lives being transformed by higher education.

The SLB also prides itself on an impressive track record of stewarding and managing the $3-billion portfolio of the Student Loan Fund, which is now entirely funded by the Government and loan repayments.

In the face of ever growing demand on the Loan Scheme and its services, the Students’ Loan Bureau is re-doubling it efforts to secure the viability of the Revolving Loan Fund. One way is to continue its aggressive collection campaigns and to promote and encourage responsibility among succeeding generations of tertiary students who are depending on the Fund to realize their dreams of a tertiary education.

The SLB practices customer delight with a well-trained staff of mainly University graduates. Planned and routine training sessions and interventions. The 4-month application period, which incorporates a 200-persons-a-day policy, is more than adequate to serve the anticipated number of applicants. Notwithstanding any anticipated surge in applications as the traditional April 30 deadline approaches, this system easily serves all our clients, even at a rate of 50 persons a day. The SLB is equipped to handle over 14,000 applications during the 4-month processing period, twice the number of anticipated applications each year.

 

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