The Education and Transformation Commission Taskforce report has put forward a list of recommendations geared at making the Student Loan Bureau, SLB, an easier option for students seeking higher education.

The 342-page document said one issue preventing access to tertiary education is a lack of private funding to pursue tertiary studies.

It said this was evident in the university drop-out rates.

Suzell Wray has more:

According to the Professor Orlando Patterson-chaired report, there was overwhelming consensus that SLB was not a
preferred option for many students.

It said this has led to students attempting to work and study full-time.

It added that this reality has also forced many students to abandon their programmes.

The report called for SLB’s loan criteria to be assessed and possibly adjusted to better facilitate the increased demand by students from low income families who cannot afford tertiary education.

The report also outlined that focus must also be placed on more stringent means of enforcing borrowers to repay their loans.

It explained that this tightening up on collection at the back end could see a relaxation of the lending criteria particularly for
low income borrowers.

The report also recommended that the SLB factor in non-tuition expenses into overall allocation of loans with an additional 10 per cent premium to assist in non-tuition expenses.

There’s also a recommendation for the SLB to implement a repayment model based on income upon graduation.

This it said would lessen the burden on students who have not been able to find employment after graduating.

SLB is a government-owned student loan financing organization geared towards enabling qualified, needy Jamaican students access to financial assistance to pursue tertiary education.

The report was launched on Thursday by the Jamaica Education and Transformation Commission.