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SLB to start funding short certification courses

Published:Monday | June 17, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Executive director of the Students' Loan Bureau, Monica Brown


The Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) is to start funding short certification courses.

This is according to executive director of the SLB, Monica Brown, who says a submission has been made to the board for approval to fund short certification courses.

She made the remarks during a Higher Education Summit, held at Mona Visitor’s Lodge, at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

“Up to now, the SLB has been funding courses for a minimum of two years. So based on the recent consideration, we are going to be funding shorter courses,” Brown said.

“In addition to those certification courses, online courses are going to be funded by the SLB [as well as] professional courses,” she added.

Each year, the SLB receives 13,000 to 14,000 applications from students who belong to tertiary institutions, 60 per cent from returning students and 40 per cent from new applicants.

“We continue to see how we can make our products more attractive to encourage more of our students to move on to tertiary education,” Brown noted.

She informed that the approval rate each year is approximately 98 per cent, and that over the last five years, there has been a slight decline in the number of applications received.

“However, the Students’ Loan Bureau continues to provide about 30 to 35 per cent of the students in the approved tertiary institutions with funding. We continue to see the bulk of our applications for the business and social sciences and education,” the SLB head stated.

She, however, pointed out that there are challenges for some persons, who have difficulty getting jobs because of the number of persons who are qualified in these areas. 

“So the time has come for us to look at the other areas that we can encourage our students, and better prepare them for employment opportunities and to create their own businesses,” the SLB executive director stated.

Over the past 10 years, the SLB has provided loans to 80,000 students, at a value of $24 billion.

The SLB is Jamaica’s premier loan financing organisation, committed to ensuring that qualified, needy Jamaican students have equal access to financial assistance, to pursue tertiary education.

The Bureau is able to lend because of its revolving loan scheme. Students borrow today to repay at the end of their course of study to ensure that succeeding generations of students benefit from the fund. Consequently, repayment of all loans is vital to the viability of the scheme.