The Ministry of Finance has been taking steps to recover the outstanding monies owed to University of Guyana (UG)’s Student Loan Agency.
A recent forensic audit into the institution’s Student Loan Agency (SLA) revealed that from the year 1994 to May 2015, some 17,567 or 69.4% of 25,335 student loans were deemed delinquent because students were not honouring their indebtedness.
The audit report contained names of some 488 persons who were deemed “delinquent” in the loans. The list included the names of prominent Guyanese professionals and politicians.
Commenting on the matter yesterday, a staffer attached to the UG Student Loan Department noted that since the list was published, a significant number of persons have come forward to clear their debt.
“There are at least 17 persons who came forward after the list was published and made payments to the agency. Some persons paid in full while others have made arrangements to pay in parts. What has happened is some persons have been paying the loans, it’s just that they haven’t cleared them as yet. Hence their names may appear on the list.”
The SLA employee outlined that while the Agency is responsible for managing certain aspects of the loan, the Ministry of Finance is responsible for making overall determinations and decisions regarding the debt collection process.
Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Finance, Wanita Huburn explained that the Ministry is in the process of upgrading the Student Loan Agency.
According to Huburn, the Ministry has, as a result of the audit, set up a subcommittee to oversee matters of loan recovery. She explained that through the sub-committee, efforts are being made to improve the overall system and infrastructure of the Agency.
In recently published notices, the Ministry of Finance sought to remind persons with outstanding balances at the SLA, of the payment options available to them.
According to the advisory, the outstanding amounts can be taken via deductions from the salary of places of employ of persons who owed the outstanding debt; standing orders via Citizen’s Bank, Scotiabank, Republic Bank or GBTI or by cash or Managers Cheque at the Student Loan Agency.
Additionally, persons are asked to contact the Student Loan Agency via the Ministry of Finance to discuss their payment plans.
The audit report had indicated that the previous Government– the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had approved some $9,489,453,973 or US$45.5M through the National Budget, for student loans.
According to the report during the period – April 2011 to December 2014, $1,800,000,000 (US$8,571,429) was received through a process whereby the Agency Head is informed by the Budget Department that funds have been approved to be released to the Agency.
Loans issued during the audit period (academic years 2011-2012 to 2014-2015) amounted to $1,581,422,277 of which $1,432,669,005 was issued to students at Turkeyen Campus and $148,753,272 was issued to students at the Tain Campus.
The total number of students who would have obtained loans up to December 31, 2014 was 25,335.
Of the total number of students who received loans (25,335): 4,713 or 18.6% are recent graduates or are still students; 1,776 or 7% were able to repay their loans totaling $679,918,794 including principal and interest.
“Five students had their loans written off while 1,278 or five percent have been paying,” the report outlined.
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