RM2 bln set aside as education loans
Sunday Tribune - Sun, 2 March 2003

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IPOH - The National High Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) has set aside close to RM2 billion this year to provide loans for students in public universities (IPTA) and private tertiary education institutions (IPTS).

PTPTN Chairman, Datuk Ahmad Husni Mohamad, said the allocation covered the funding of some 100,000 students expected to enroll in 18 IPTA and almost 300 IPTS nationwide.

"The RM2 billion figure is also for students who obtain (PTPTN) loans since 2000, 2001 and last year and are continuing their studies this year," he said after opening the Perak Education Seminar jointly held by the PTPTN, Perak Foundation and Tambun MP Office here yesterday.

Ahmad Husni said the RM2 billion was the biggest amount allocated by the PTPTN a year as the previous high was about RM1.5 billion annually.

Since its inception under the National Education Fund Act in 1997, the PTPTN has disbursed some RM5 billion in education loans for over 401,000 students including 366,000 in the local IPTA.

He said students attending first degree science courses in the IPTA would be disbursed between RM3,500 and RM7,000 while those in arts programmes would get between RM3,000 and RM6,500 a year.

The diploma-level students are eligible for loans between RM2,500 and RM5,000 a year.

For students attending the National Accreditation. Board (LAN)-approved courses in IPTS, they will get between RM8,500 and RM20,000 (science), RM8,000-RM10,000 (arts) and RM3,500-RM5,000 (diploma programmes), a year.

Ahmad Husni  said almost 40 percent of students in IPTA and IPTS obtained the IPTA funding and the number of applications rejected was very low.

He said in a move to overcome delay in issuing the disbursement warrants, the PTPTN had set up counters at the IPTA during the admission of new students.

"Previously there was a delay as almost 30 per cent of the forms returned were incomplete.

Now we collect the forms at the universities and make checks there," he said.

On repayment of the loans, Ahmad Husni said he was satisfied with the amount received even though it had yet to reach the maximum level.

The PTPTN loan agreement requires borrowers to start making repayment six months after completing their respective courses and the repayment is spread over a period of 10 to 20 years.

Ahmad Husni said the government had allowed unemployed graduates to put off the repayment up to three years.

"But if they obtain employment much earlier, they can start making the repayment," he said.

The one-day seminar was held to brief SPM and STPM school-leavers on the facilities available at the local IPTA and IPTS. - Bernama