Jamaica News: Approximately $5.2 billion in Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) tertiary education funding support is projected for disbursement to eligible applicants this year.
According to the 2019/20 Jamaica Public Bodies Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, the figure is $251 million more than the sum for the Student Revolving Loan Fund (SRLF) during the 2018/19 fiscal year.
The document indicates that sources for this year’s funding include government provisions through the Special Education Tax, and Grant-in-Aid, with the latter projected to be approximately $150 million.
Other revenue streams and their projected inflows include loan interest and penalties – $3.29 billion; bad debt recovery – $318 million; interest on investment – $136 million; application and processing fees – $48 million; and miscellaneous income – $13 million.
Meanwhile, the SLB is slated to continue implementing several initiatives this year, which are aimed at achieving/maintaining operational efficiency, viability and enhanced public perception and awareness.
In a bid to improve public awareness, the Bureau will be targeting high-school students preparing for tertiary education, to sensitise them about the funding options available for various programmes of study.
The SLB will also be initiating new Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with tertiary institutions and relevant government agencies, to strengthen stakeholder relationships.
Meanwhile, the Bureau has programmed strengthening of its marketing thrust to improve awareness of the agency’s ‘Pay As You Study’ and postgraduate loan facilities.
These have a shorter payback timeline than the traditional loans, which have an extended moratorium.
Heightened marketing of alternative loan options is expected to improve the Bureau’s finances.
The SLB also plans to implement an Enterprise Management Information System (EMIS), which will incorporate a review of business processes, policies and procedures.
This is expected to facilitate improvements in the Bureau’s performance, thereby enabling fulfilment of its mission to provide loans or grants, in absolute discretion, to approved applicants, and administer the student revolving loan fund.
The SLB projects a net operational surplus of approximately $1.19 billion for 2019/20 and an increase in the staff complement by three, to 108, over the course of the year
Source: JIS News