Despite a reduction of delinquent borrowers at the Student Loan Bureau (SLB) there are serious worries at the agency to meet its demand.
The agency’s annual report for the last financial year tabled in parliament yesterday, shows that delinquent loans accounted for 24 per cent of the total loan portfolio at the end of the financial year on March 31.
This is a 10 per cent improvement over last year’s delinquency rate of 34 per cent.
But the report notes that Bureau does not have enough money to disburse tuition loans.
As a result, the gap between the demand and supply of funds has widened.
Of the 44 tertiary institutions approved for funding through the SLB, the report showed that the bulk of the money was disbursed to the University of Technology, the University of the West Indies, and the Northern Caribbean University.
In the meantime, the SLB notes that the high unemployment rate triggered by the downturn in the Jamaican economy was affecting borrowers’ ability to honour their monthly payments.
The report also found that the total income for the SLB declined by nine per cent to just over $1 billion, but explained that this was influenced mainly by an 80 per cent decline in interest income.
Despite the challenges, the report concluded that the operations of the SLB remain viable with total assets of more than $9.7 billion, a six per cent increase over the previous year.