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Opposition says new SLB fines are illogical in current economic climate

Published:Tuesday | May 26, 2015 | 3:41 PM
In this file photo a crowd of applicants wait outside the offices of the Students' Loan Bureau in Kingston.

Opposition Spokesperson on Education and Youth, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith says she is extremely concerned at news that the Student's Loan Bureau (SLB) is implementing penalties for the late or partial payment of loans.

Word came last week that the bureau is implementing a $750 fine where payments are made after the due date or where less than the stipulated amount is paid.

The new fine will also apply to loans in arrears beginning this month.

The Senator says she understands that the SLB is working to increase compliance for the repayment of loans.

However, she says the fine is illogical in the current economic climate.

The Opposition Spokesperson also raised concerns about the $1,500 per month penalty which is to be applied to loans that have matured and have not yet closed.

Senator Johnson Smith says when this is combined with the interest on loans, many persons will be unable to make the payments.

She says the SLB and the Government need to find better ways to identify debtors who have real challenges, and to encourage timely payments without simply increasing the burden on struggling young people.