The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has commenced a nationwide exercise to recover outstanding student loans, with a view to making the loan scheme more viable for future beneficiaries.
Four categories of loan repayments have been outlined under the exercise, three of which will involve the mandatory use of a beneficiary’s social security contributions before or after benefiting from the loan scheme to offset the indebtedness.
The fourth category, however, covers beneficiaries who would have not contributed to SSNIT 10 years after benefiting and whose indebtedness would be repaid using the contributions of guarantors.
A statement issued in Accra explained that SSNIT had decided to do this to clear the outstanding student loan debt, as well as to reduce the processing time in order to serve contributors better and promptly.
The statement, signed by the Corporate Affairs Manager of SSNIT, Ms Evangeline Amegashie, said when carried out successfully, the exercise would make more funds available to enable the Trust to invest the loan recoveries prudently to sustain the fund.
Throwing more light on the exercise, the statement said under the first category, the contributions of student loan beneficiaries who had not made any repayment after the completion of their course of study, but were contributing to the Social Security Scheme, would be used to offset their indebtedness.
For the second group of student loan beneficiaries who have made some repayments after completing their course of study but still have outstanding balance on their loans and are also contributing to the Trust, their contributions will be used to offset their loans.
Under the fourth category, guarantors who stood surety for loan beneficiaries who have not fully repaid their loans 10 years after completing their course of study and have no SSNIT contributions, will repay the loan.
The statement said as of January 2014, approximately 70 per cent (134,189) loan beneficiaries had completely repaid their loans while 30 per cent (58,557) were still indebted to the Trust.
The SSNIT Students Loan Scheme was started in January 1988 and was administered by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) on behalf of the government.
The main objective of the scheme was to assist students in tertiary institutions defray personal and academic expenses, including the cost of boarding, lodging, books, equipment and for such other purposes as may be necessary for their course of study.
As of the end of the loan disbursement period of January 2013, 192,746 students had benefited from the scheme.
Students Loan Trust Fund
In 2006, the Student Loans Trust Fund (SLTF) was set up by the government as a permanent body to replace the SSNIT Student Loans Scheme.
New applicants for the scheme from 2006 were, therefore, serviced by the SLTF, and not SSNIT.
After the cessation of the SSNIT Student Loans Scheme, continuing students under the SSNIT Scheme, however, continued to be paid till January 2012.
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