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Regional News of Thursday, 15 October 2015

Source: GNA

SLTF wants chiefs to help identify applicants

The Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) has asked the chiefs of the Asogli State to help create awareness and platforms for the Fund to reach out to prospective applicants, especially those from the rural areas.

A team from the fund, led by Mr Andy Osei Okrah, the Board Chairman, and Mrs Sheila Naah Boamah, the Chief Executive Officer, held discussions with the Chiefs of Asogli, as part of a week-long consultation with key stakeholders in the Volta Region on the sustainability of the Fund, and how to encourage prospective applicants to access the Fund’s Loan.

The team held similar discussions with the Regional Coordinating Council and the authorities of the Ho Polytechnic.

The team would be holding similar consultations in other regions as part of it its 10 years anniversary on the theme, “Transforming Tertiary Education Financing in Ghana.”

Loans offered by the SLTF could be guaranteed by Chiefs, Municipal and District Assemblies and religious bodies, unlike the former SSNIT Students Loan which were guaranteed by contributors to SSNIT and plagued by high default and reluctance of contributors to guarantee those loans.

Mr Okrah said the loan was meant to help less privileged students, especially those from the rural areas, to pursue tertiary education.

He said the Fund welcomed suggestions and financial contributions from philanthropists and institutions to augment what was coming from the Ghana Education Trust Fund.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Mr Okrah said applicants could apply for between 650.00 Ghana cedis and 1,600 Ghana cedis every year at an interest of not more than 12 percent or less depending on the prevailing official interest rate.

He said loan beneficiaries had up to two years after completing their courses to start paying the loans at 30.00 Ghana cedis a month over a period.

Mrs Naah-Boamah said less privileged students from the Senior High Schools must be encouraged to pursue higher education by accessing the students’ loan in order to break out of poverty.

She said loan beneficiaries must prioritize the repayment of the loans.

Mrs Naah-Boamah said the Fund had instituted measures, including the designation of 180 pay points, to make it easy for loan beneficiaries to repay their loans and observed that the rate of recovery of loans had been encouraging.

She said the Fund had taken other measures to reduce the risk of guarantors.

The Asogli Chiefs, led by Togbe Howusu XII, suggested to the Fund to start thinking about extending the loans to students pursuing courses required by the Ghanaian labour market.

The Chiefs observed that several schemes meant to cushion less privileged children went to the children of public officials who could afford to finance their children’s education.

They also suggested that certificates of loan beneficiaries should be withheld until they completed the repayment of the loans.

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