M'sia offers funding scheme for tertiary level students

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Putrajaya (The Star/ANN) - A special loan scheme for tertiary level students, offering funding of between 100,000 ringgit (US$32,200) and 150,000 ringgit with an interest rate of BLR-1 per cent, has been introduced.

The Skim Prihatin Pendidikan 1Malaysia (SPP1M) works as a top-up funding and is for students at local and overseas universities.

It is also open to those receiving the PTPTN loan, on government or private scholarships and self-financed students.

For a start, Maybank and RHB Bank have agreed to offer the facility with an initial allocation of 1 billion ringgit.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said that more banks were expected to join in and the scheme would ultimately have 5 billion ringgit to offer.

"The Government has put in a guarantee of 500 million ringgit or 10 per cent of the total fund while the interest rate would be far lower than what is usually offered.

"This is an initiative in view of the rising cost of pursuing higher education which puts pressure on parents, especially those paying for their children's studies," the Prime Minister said when launching the scheme at Perdana Putra Building here yesterday.

Unveiling the scheme: Najib launching the SPP1M at Perdana Putra Building in Putrajaya. Also present are (from left) Human Resources Minister Dr S. Subramaniam, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera CEO Raja Azura Raja Mahayuddin, Nor Mohamed, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

Najib described the scheme as unique since, he said, it would also benefit those who were receiving scholarships and have already taken out study loans.

He said the scheme would be implemented in two stages April for local universities and June for twinning programmes and overseas universities.

"We expect the scheme to benefit those in the middle and upper middle income groups.

"This is a creative way of helping the rakyat," he said, adding that Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera would manage the scheme.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop later said that the interest rate for the scheme would be BLR-1 per cent during the study period.

Once the students completed their studies, the rate would be BLR +0 per cent, he said.

"The total repayment period is 20 years, including the 15 years of study."

PTPTN imposed an administrative charge of 1 per cent per annum on reducing balance.

The interest rate for normal education loans is between BLR+0.75 per cent and BLR+1.25 per cent.

The current BLR of banks is between 6.2 per cent and 6.6 per cent.

The SPP1M is a top-up fund that will add on to whatever financing that the students are currently receiving, be it PTPTN loans, scholarships or their own funding.

The top-up of 150,000 ringgit is for a medical specialist course while 100,000 ringgit is for other fields.

More details on the scheme are available at www.penerajuedu.com

*US$1=3.0 ringgit

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