Grades could determine SLB loans
The Students' Loan Bureau (SLB) has put in place a new policy which will see students being denied loans if their grades are low and if the demand for loans is greater than the amount available for on-lending.
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips said during yesterday's sitting of Parliament's Standing Finance Committee that the SLB's total amount for on-lending is $4 billion and that there will only be need to use the policy if the demand outstrips the availability of funds.
"The Students' Loan Bureau has also said that in the event that there is more demand than they have available resources, then they are going to put in place a set of criteria which will allow for them to make those decisions.
Included in those criteria are the quality of your performance and your grades ... . Included in that are the matching of the areas of interest in the national interest in prioritising science, technology, math and engineering that they have put, in the event ... . It is part of a general policy change," Phillips said.
Some $2.9 billion has been set aside in the Estimates of Expenditure for funding to the SLB and Phillips said that the entity's net collections are $1.5 billion.
a major concern
Opposition MP Ed Bartlett had pressed Phillips for answers, saying the area of student loan allocation and the availability of funds to students by way of loan were "a major area of concern", and questioned whether there is any change in policy in relation to the prioritisations of disciplines that will be given loans.
"There is quite a bit of talk about the STEM subjects versus those who are doing the arts and so on," Bartlett said.
Phillips said the SLB this year is over the $4 billion that is required to provide loans to students.
"In the event that there is more demand than there can be satisfied, that is what will happen," Phillips said in pointing to the new policy.
"There is no policy that says we will only give to certain studies but in the event that there is an excess of demand over the resources, then they have guidelines that they will apply," the minister said.