The National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) Deputy National Youth Organiser, Edem Agbana says his party is going to increase the Student Loan Trust Fund by 100% and reintroduce the Student Loan Trust Fund Plus.
Speaking on Joy News’ Joint Caucus, Agbana stated that this has become necessary because his party in drafting their manifesto realised that the amount disbursed to loan applicants was inadequate to cater for needs of students.
“We have captured it much more. We have said that we’ll increase the student loan by 100% because we have seen, and when you speak to the beneficiaries, even the loan is not enough so we’ll increase it”.
He also added that, although the NDC and the NPP had both proposed to remove the guarantor system in their manifestos, the NPP failed to address the most salient problem, which is the disbursement of the loan.
“But you know the problem? The problem is that this government has a terrible record with loan disbursement and you can cross-check… As we speak 2019/2020 academic year has ended more than 10,000 beneficiaries of the student loan have not received their loans and you can cross-check from the SLTF,” he said.
In addition to that Edem said that the NDC will reintroduce the “Student Loan Trust Fund plus which president Mahama introduced in the 2015/2016 academic year but the NPP government failed to continue”.
According to him, the Student Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) Plus when reintroduced will allow students who are not in good standing with their universities – that is, students who haven’t been able to pay their school fees and any other fees – the chance to do so using the loan facility.
On the guarantor system, Mr Agbana believes that the challenge with the current student loan system will not be solved by simply taking out the requirement of a guarantor by an applicant, as the NPP is proposing.
This, he said, is because the inequality gap will continue to widen as students from deprived homes who are unable to pay their fees cannot access the loan facility.
“We’re thinking about that child, that Ghanaian child that does not have what it takes to even foot his school fees to be able to be a student in good standing before accessing the loan.
“So it means that you can even remove [the] guarantor but if the person is not able to pay fees, and is in not good standing in the university he/she is unable to access the loan.
By introducing the SLTF Plus, the NDC will ensure that students who gain admission to the university and are unable to pay their school fees to be in good standing for the student loan will still be able to access the loan facility.
“So we have said that student loan trust fund plus, what it does is that as long as you get your admission letter, even when you do not have money to pay your fees and be in good standing before even thinking of getting a guarantor or not, you can apply to the student loan trust fund get the SLTFplus form and you’re given a loan which can even help you to even pay part of your fees and that is the solution to the problem,” Agbana explained.