JNSBL Offers Loan Funding To Offset Educational Costs
In its continued drive to build capacity and contribute to the achievement of the country’s Vision 2030 Plan for education and training, through the enhancement of the small business sector, JN Small Business Loans Limited (JNSBL), the microfinance subsidiary of the Jamaica National Building Society, has expanded the loan options available to persons seeking funds to finance their education.
The company has been unveiling the product to clients and small business owners at its town hall meetings, the first of which was held in May Pen, Clarendon recently, as part of several new offerings.
“The 2030 Vision for Education speaks to providing relevant training and certification in a wide range of skills to prepare workers who are qualified to work anywhere in the world,” Mr. Whylie, General Manager of JNSBL noted, “hence, our decision to provide a facility for students to finance their education at any level of the system”.
The company’s new loan product is structured to meet the needs of students at the three main levels of the educational system. The funds, offered to a maximum of $150,000, are available to parents and guardians seeking to finance their children’s secondary and primary education; and, to employed tertiary students who need assistance to pay their tuition.
“There is continuing struggle, at all levels, to finance education,” Frank Whylie, General Manager commented. “And, while there are other products in the marketplace to assist persons with financing, the cost of accessing some of these funds can be high,” he added, noting that sometimes the requirements for these loans screen out persons with the most need.
The collateral requirements of the JNSBL education loan are flexible, Mr. Whylie said, revealing that household appliances and specialised equipment with serial numbers, as well as motor vehicles can be accepted as security. He explained that the life of the loan ranges from ten to 50 weeks; and can be repaid on a monthly or weekly basis, depending on how income is earned by the applicant.
He stated that the cost of education was more than school fees, and noted that, “Although tuition at both public primary and secondary schools are covered by the Government, many parents still find it difficult to finance the purchase of books and school supplies, as well as computers, which are now necessary for research and communication for students. Financing external examination fees can also present serious challenges to family resources.”
Consequently, there are instances when students miss out on advancing to higher levels of the educational system because their parents or guardians are unable to pay the examination fees to allow them to sit the subjects they would like to pursue.
And, he cited a story recently published in one of the daily newspapers, which highlighted the plight of a youngster, who nearly missed his chance to write his Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams because his guardians could not afford to pay the examination fees.
“Similarly, there are many tertiary students who actually enrol in university, without a financial plan to meet the cost of fees and books,” Mr. Whylie stated, “hence, this education loan is set at a fair interest rate; and, is designed to help parents to plan to fill some of these gaps.”
The General Manager also noted that if Jamaicans are to achieve the 2030 vision for education, “then we must provide the opportunities for more young people to fund their education and contribute to the building of the economy.”
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