That’s why it’s good to know that the government is trying to bridge the gap among the less-privileged by initiating programs that extend a helping hand. The SSS (Social Security System) Educational Assistance Loan Program is a very good example. It’s specifically made for SSS members who earn less than P15,000 a month.
A Welcome OptionSure there are other programs such as the scholarships from DOST (Department of Science and Technology) but this have limited slots and will not cater for everyone. Moreover, the DOST-SEI (Science Education Institute) scholarship program is focused on those whose inclination is in science and engineering.
Some people will also point out that if anyone is really determined to get a college degree, he or she should be willing to become a working student. In other words, a student can choose to work to earn money for tuition and college expenses. I have no doubt this is an option and a good one for many. But it takes a considerable amount of hard work and determination to pull this off. And there are not enough part-time jobs for everyone.
A student loan program, therefore, is very much a welcome addition to the limited options of students without sufficient means to study. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) had previously started such a program called Study Now Pay Later (SNPL). This program would have served the poor to this day if not for very low repayment rate. Very few of those who availed of the loan actually repaid what they owed. The fund, therefore, dried up after a couple of years.
Better Designed Student LoanThe SSS program will face similar problems for sure. But this program is in a better position to avoid the failure of the CHED program due to the following reasons:
- Only SSS members in good standing can avail of the program. This means that only those who have paid at least 36 monthly contributions are eligible to avail of the loan for themselves or their beneficiaries. They should also be up-to-date in the payment of loans with the SSS with overdue amount not exceeding 3 monthly loan amortizations.
- Any unpaid educational loans will be deducted from the future benefit that the SSS member is bound to receive. So even if many of those who borrowed will forget to repay their loans, SSS can reclaim the amount by way of deduction from their SSS benefits.
Sharing The Info Can HelpIf my guess is correct, most of you who will find and read this article will not have any direct use of this information. It could be that you already have a degree or your family could not possibly qualify to the low income requirement.
But that’s no reason to do nothing. I encourage you to share this information to those who may find it useful. SSS members whose income is below P15,000 and with kids who may want to pursue a college or vocational course will surely benefit. The maximum loanable amount is P15,000 per semester for a degree course and P7,500 per semester for vocational courses. Although the loans are limited to tuition and miscellaneous expenses, these will surely help those who are in need.
Loan Terms Like No OtherThose who are eligible to borrow will not find better loan terms than what this program has to offer. The loan itself is funded on a 50:50 basis between the government and SSS. The good news is that the government portion will not charge any interest while the SSS portion will only have 6% interest rate per annum.
On top of that, the loan repayment will only start 15 to 18 months after the last release date. This means that if you were a borrower who availed of the loan for all semesters of a degree course, you will only start paying 18 months after the start of the last semester. This, in effect, would give you a full year after completing your degree or vocational course to earn enough and start repaying the loan.
So it seems like it’s a very good deal that would, hopefully, help many more Filipinos earn a college degree or complete a vocational course. Let’s hope it succeeds for the betterment of the lives of our countrymen and women throughout the Philippines.
If you want to know more, you can follow this link for details: SSS website
*Photo Credit: pennstatelive (Creative Commons)