Failing on commitment

Administrators of the Student Revolving Loan Scheme have over the past year or so been making a concerted effort to recoup monies which they would have disbursed to students going back in some cases to more than a decade.

Our information is that many of these loans have never been serviced since disbursement. This surely is not good enough and serves not only to put a strain on the scheme but will also likely disadvantage future applicants.

In some cases, we understand, some students who studied overseas, remained overseas and have never sought to repay their loans. Some have had no correspondence with the local authorities and their families and guarantors in Barbados have provided little information to the scheme about their wards.

In most instances, they face the prospect of having to repay the loans themselves, a most untenable situation since many would have signed as guarantors in good faith only and do not have the financial wherewithal to make good on those repayments.

It is a serious situation that needs to be looked at in the interest of future applicants, families, guarantors, and indeed, the state.

The Ministry of Education needs to come up with some mechanism whereby students will want to repay their loans rather than simply acquire their degrees, migrate, or remain at home, and live happily ever after, at the continued expense of the state.

In the area of mortgages, commercial banks usually hold on to land titles until their monies are repaid. Perhaps, it is time that the scheme implement a policy where there is some meaningful contact and ongoing communication between that state agency and the specific university in which their clients are enrolled.

A system can easily be implemented where degrees acquired via state financing are posted to the scheme and held in a form of escrow until the student loans are repaid. Students who might need verification of qualifications in the interim for job applications, can apply to the scheme for certified copies of their degrees and pay for those copies. This can be a revenue generating measure for the scheme and will undoubtedly serve as greater incentive for defaulters to repay the state the money they owe.

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