Treasury still $100M in the hole
Government is working steadfastly toward a September goal-post to relaunch the stalled education loan program, the country’s top education official said Tuesday, even as the public purse remains $100 million short in unpaid student loans.
Minister of Education Jeffery Lloyd told Eyewitness News Online that the government is aggressively pursuing debtors in an effort to reintroduce the program before year’s end.
“There are many persons who may not qualify for a grant or scholarship who otherwise would like to access monies from the government via a loan, but they are unable to do so right now because of the exorbitant amount that is outstanding. So, we are working toward the relaunch of this program by September,” said Lloyd.
The education minister confirmed that the government has made significant strides in contacting delinquent payees.
“I am happy that those who have been given the chance to respond, have been responding. We are very aggressive in our recapturing pursuits so that we can try to get these monies,” shared Lloyd.
The Education Loan Authority was introduced under the Christie administration in 2001. The minister stated that records indicate that student loan payments have been in default since then.
According to Lloyd, nearly 5,000 student loans were issued between 2001 and 2009 however, by 2009, the program had, according to the minister, accumulated over $100 million in delinquent payments.
Lloyd confirmed that a lion share of those loans are in default. The programme was subsequently dissolved under the third Ingraham administration.
The minister said persons who have benefitted from the loan program and refuse to make payments will find themselves before the courts.