Thu | Sep 20, 2018

SLB reform eases loan burden

Published:Friday | March 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMTHE EDITOR, Sir:

During the past few weeks, the 2017-18 Budget has found its way into the conversations of most Jamaicans. Labelling it as a 'journey to prosperity,' Audley Shaw, in his debate presentation, indicated that the development of our human resources must become a priority, with education as the vehicle to reach this destination.

According to the government website ,the gross enrolment rate at the tertiary level has been steadily decreasing. The last statistic read 28.9 per cent enrolment at the tertiary level, coming from a peak of 33.1 per cent in 2011.

Unfortunately, the reduction in the number of students enrolling at the tertiary level may be attributed to the rapidly increasing cost of attending university. Tuition costs, particularly at the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica, have been on the rise since 2013.

Thankfully, the Government has not only changed the method of calculating Students' Loan Bureau repayments to charging interest on the reducing balance but has also slashed the interest rates to an all-time low of six per cent. These developments are welcomed by many current and prospective borrowers.

These bold changes are nothing less than long-term investments in human capital, which will undoubtedly result in sustainable growth and development in Jamaica.

The greatest return that our university graduates can give the taxpayers of Jamaica on this investment is to contribute to the revolving loan scheme by working steadfastly and wisely in the formal Jamaican workforce, so that others can join us on the journey to prosperity.