The Coalition of Aggrieved Students has given government a one-week ultimatum to release money to the Student Loan Trust Fund for disbursement else it will embark on a mammoth demonstration.

In an interview with the Head of Operations for the Coalition, Simon Awotomia indicated that beneficiaries of the loans are facing numerous challenges due to the delay of payment.

“Many of the students are currently at home, meanwhile the second semester is already in session. People are actually bleeding and crying.

“We just don’t know what is happening and anytime you go to them they will tell you that there are no funds available,” he said.

Mr Awotomia added that the coalition has constantly petitioned stakeholders to get their situation addressed, however, all efforts have yielded no results.

“The whole issue started in 2018, due to that consultations were made we tried to follow up and interact with all the necessary stakeholders to find out why there is delay in disbursement but they tell us that we will hear from them soon, but up till now, we have not heard from them,” he narrated.

He further highlighted that the student’s loans are really important to beneficiaries since students use the money to settle school fees, and purchase all academic literature needed for the semester. Therefore, the delay has really affected them.

“A lot of the students were sacked out of the examination hall and that can even affect them psychologically, emotionally and physically so you can imagine the results of these beneficiaries in the long run,” he indicated.

On its part, the Student Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) attributed the delay of disbursement of student loans to government’s decision to increase money lent to beneficiaries.

Government in its quest to fulfill its campaign promise in 2016 has increased the number of loans to the Students Loan Scheme to about 50%.

Previously the minimum amount which was given out was a minimum of GH₵1000.00 and the maximum of GH₵2000.00 but now the minimum is GH₵1500.00 and the maximum, GH₵3000.00.

This, according to the SLTF Public Relations Manager, George Ferguson has put pressure on the fund since the funding source still remains the same.

“It is part of the reason because obviously when the amount is increased, even when you don’t have new applicants, you are suddenly paying out a lot more than we used to and that has affected our cash flow.

“Our funding sources are mainly from the GET Fund, the Communication Service Tax (CST) and from borrowers who are no repaying. As far as Get Fund and CST are concerned we do not have control over how soon it comes and these are funds that we depend on to give to these students,” he observed.

Mr Ferguson further urged students to exercise patience as the Trust Fund works to resolve the matter adding that “I am not sure if a demonstration is an effective response to the situation at this time.”