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Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS) Change

Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS) Change
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum
March 14
10:00 2018

Change is coming for the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS).

It’s good news for potential graduates particularly those who will start work earning less than their colleagues.

At the moment there is a flat rate of 20 per cent of the gross salary that is deducted for loan repayment irrespective of the salary scale.

That will change so that the top end salary earners will pay 20 per cent while those below will pay less under a TELS review announced by Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Parliament yesterday.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was responding to a question from National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad.

He said Government was now in a position to reassess TELS after four years of its implementation.

What is being worked out:

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum clarified that these figures were not final. By way of an example, he said any graduate, who earned less than $15,000 might not be asked to start with the repayments until he or she started earning above $15,000.

He said a TELS recipient who earned between $15,000 and $20,000 after graduation would pay 10 per cent of their gross salary towards repayment.

Those earning between $20,000 and $30,000 would pay 15 per cent while those earning above $30,000 were likely to pay 20 per cent of their gross salary.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Government understood that different jobs paid varying starting salaries.

Finalised figures on this will be released in the 2018/2019 Budget.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum explained that 50 per cent of our population was below 27 years and 6 months, so there was an obvious demand for education. He said within four years since TELS was introduced, Government had already reviewed allowances which students received.

By 2020, the projected amount of money spent through TELS will be about $750 million.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also questioned  political parties which were saying they would make tertiary education free.

He said this might sound good but the reality was the burden of that would fall on generations of Fijians to come.

Meanwhile, SODELPA’s draft manifesto says TELS will be reviewed and there will be “one Fiji government scholarship scheme under one scholarship committee.”

“This single scheme will consist of the PSC Scholarship Unit, FAB scholarship Unit and Multi-Ethnic Scholarship Unit.

All scholarship holders will be bonded to work in Fiji for an allocated number of years.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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