The Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) is increasing the number of Grant-In-Aid (GIA) allocations provided and sums dispensed, beginning this fiscal year.
The number of grants being provided for eligible students from low-income or Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) households, and wards of the State will increase to 4,200, up from the 3,000
The sum for each grant will move from $50,000 to $60,000, with the cost to the Government for the overall increase totalling $252 million.
A Grant-in-Aid is a non-repayable monetary provision afforded to eligible students applying for an SLB Targeted Loan.
Its purpose is to provide financially challenged students with supplementary assistance for school-related expenses.
In order to access a GIA, students must first apply for the loan that caters to applicants pursuing undergraduate studies.
The grant is provided once the loan is approved and the applicant’s eligibility is verified.
The launch for the revised GIA provisions is slated for The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on July 20 beginning 9:00 a.m.
Since its inception in 1970, the SLB has been providing GIA support to financially challenged students. Disbursements during the 2022/23 academic year totalled $150 million.
During his 2023/24 Budget Debate presentation, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Nigel Clarke, noted that the Government was also waiving the guarantor requirement for PATH students.
“Effective for the new school year, beginning in September, students from PATH households who apply to the Students’ Loan Bureau will not need to provide any guarantors,” he said.
Clarke indicated that the move is intended to preserve, increase and share the benefits of economic recovery to ensure there is collective advancement. PATH students will also benefit from a waiver in application fees for SLB loans.
He said the SLB is continuing on its mission to provide financing to students pursuing tertiary-level studies across 34 approved tertiary institutions.