Funding for the Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) for the 2017/18 Financial Year has not been cut.
Based on Budget allocation, the SLB is projected to receive $2.827bn from the Special Education Tax (SET) for FY 2017/18. For the 2016/17 fiscal year, a similar amount ($2.827bn) is projected to be received by the end of March 2017. As a result there is no reduction in funding from the SET. An additional $100mn in grant funds has been pledged by the HEART Trust/NTA for the academic year 2016/17 which does not repeat in FY2017/18.
Finance Minister, the Honourable Audley Shaw, in his Opening Budget Speech for the 2017/18 Financial Year stated that, “the Government of Jamaica recognizes the importance of human capital development and training towards achieving our economic growth targets. To this end… the Students ‘Loan Bureau will be reducing interest rates on loans for selected areas.”
Interest rates on Pay As You Study loans will be reduced from 9.5 percent to 6.0 percent and interest rates on Post Graduate loans will also be lowered from 13.0 percent to 9.5 percent.
Students studying in the areas of Maritime and Logistics, Agriculture and Engineering and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) will also benefit from decline interest rates from 9.5 percent to 6.0 percent.