Education Loan Authority negotiating with collection agency

Education Loan Authority negotiating with collection agency
Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd. (FILE PHOTO)

Lloyd says persons will be taken to court

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – With $100 million outstanding in scholarship loans, the Education Loan Authority is presently negotiating with a collection agency to recoup the outstanding funds.

“We are going through the process of negotiating with that agency and we are seeking to come to a contract,” said Education Minister Jeff Lloyd, who referred to the outstanding amounts as a “vexing situation” that prevents the Ministry from moving forward with re-establishing the program.

“We have $100 million dollars outstanding. We wanted to start in the 2018 – 2019 school year, to return back to giving opportunities for loans, but it seems as if we are going to have to start again in 2019.

“It’s a vexing challenge because you know, without the threat of legal action people just simply refuse to come forward, and we really don’t want to take legal action against people but we will obviously have…”

Lloyd said the Authority have made attempts to work out a payment plan with loan defaulters, but this effort has also failed.

“We tried to work with people and they promised through a payment plan that they would pay $100 dollars or $500 a month, and they have been delinquent in that.

“We have worked with them even further, and we wanted to give them an opportunity to make good on their promise, but it appears as if we are simply going to have to take some of them to court and that’s regrettable. We will have to do what we have to do because it is the people’s money,” Lloyd said.

The Education Loan Authority was introduced under the Christie administration in 2001. In a previous interview with Eyewitness News, Lloyd said records indicate that student loan payments had been in default since then.

According to Lloyd, nearly 5,000 student loans were issued between 2001 and 2009, but by 2009, the program had accumulated over $100 million in delinquent payments.

The education loan program was subsequently dissolved under the third Ingraham administration.