NEWS

Positive Response to Govt’s Loan Repayment Change

Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) students have applauded the new TELS change. At the moment there is a flat rate of 20 per cent of the gross salary deducted for
15 Mar 2018 10:00
Positive Response to Govt’s Loan Repayment Change

Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) students have applauded the new TELS change.

At the moment there is a flat rate of 20 per cent of the gross salary 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 on Tuesday.

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.

He said any graduate who earned less than $15,000 may not be asked to start with the repayments till he or she earns above $15,000.

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.

TELS student, Shayal Lal, 20, of Nausori who is on her final year of studies with the Fiji National University (FNU) said it was a great initiative by the Government to consider the pay scale of new graduates.

“The new initiative by the Government will benefit all new graduates because we might get a high salary when we enter the workforce.

“We have been given a flexibility to pay TELS as we earn and it will give us time to save money as well,” Ms Lal said.

FNU first year Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) student Sakiusa Natasere said it was an exciting moment for the students on TELS.

“We now have the flexibility to pay TELS depending on the pay scale and it gives us an opportunity to also save as we earn,” Mr Natasere said.

“I am thankful to the Government to consider our pay scales as we do not expect to have a big salary as we start in the workforce,First year student of FNU, Nemani Simmons, appreciated the Government’s consideration of understanding the importance of paying back to TELS.

“I understand paying back to TELS is important, but it was overwhelming for me to know that the Government has made the policy lenient for students to ensure they are well settled in the workforce before they pay back,” Mr Simmons said.

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

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