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CHED admits failure of Study Now, Pay Later program

April 18, 2006 12:55pm
The Commission on Higher Education on Tuesday admitted the government's Study Now, Pay Later program (SNPLP) has been a costly blunder, noting the failure to collect payments from loan borrowers after graduation.

CHED chairman Carlito Puno told GMA 7's DZBB they have been experiencing difficulty in collecting payment of SNPLP loans ever since.

A study conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) showed that since 1995, only 1% of the poor students who availed of SNPLP loans have paid their debts.

The 1% repayment rate was even lower than the 3% rate posted after CHED began administering the program from 1992 to 1994.

For their part, government financial institutions that administered the program from 1976 to 1991 had a repayment rate of 46%.

CHED reportedly found the payment collection from loan borrowers to be a tedious process.

Education officials bemoaned that they worked with little information in tracing the loan beneficiaries' whereabouts after graduation, employment status and the income of loan borrowers.

They also had to cope with the SNPLP's alleged inadequate data bank and the fast turnover of staff in charge of the education initiative.

Amid these purported shortcomings, President Arroyo earlier this month allotted P250 million for the government's expanded SNPLP to enable poor students to earn a college degree.

In a statement released by the Philippine Inforamation Agency (PIA), Puno said he was instructed by the Mrs. Arroyo to strengthen the study program in the form of educational loans.

Of the amount, P100 million will be administered by the Catholic Education Association of the Philippines, P100 million by the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities, P30 million by the Association of Christian Schools Colleges and Universities and P20 million by the Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities.

The SNPLP provides loan or credit to the poor but deserving students who are enrolled in priority courses in selected higher education institutions.

The applicant should be a Filipino citizen; currently enrolled in any of the CHED-priority courses; not more than 30 years old at the time of application for loan; with 75% percentile rank or above in the National Secondary Achievement Test (NSAT); have a weighted average of 2.5 or higher in the last semester in college, if attended any; with parents/guardians having a gross annual income of not more than P 150,000.00; and not presently enjoying any scholarship or study grant.

A package of P 7,250 per semester to cover tuition and other school fees is provided to qualified student loan borrowers.

The borrower will be charged with a 6% simple interest per annum which will start upon release of the loan.

Upon receiving the amount, the beneficiary should repay his or her loan two years after graduation and amortize it within a period of 10 years

In case of a default on loan repayment, the guarantor, who is either a GSIS or an SSS member shall help the students-borrower find ways and means to facilitate repayment.-GMANews.TV