Jamaica Looking for Private Capital to Fund University Student Loans

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - February 27, 2012

Above: UWI Mona

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Jamaican Ministry of Education is looking to attract private capital to fund student loans at the tertiary level, according to Education Minister Rev. Ronald Thwaites.

The government presently spends about 2 percent of the national budget on university education each year, which supplies about 80 percent of the cost of students at the University of the West Indies.

“There is no question about the continuing commitment of the state to the university, the issue is one of partnership and of balance,” he said.

Thwaites was speaking at the opening ceremony for the meetings of UWI’s Technical Advisory Committee on the Mona campus.

The challenge, he said, would be finding the financial resources for students of limited means.

“Can we broaden the definition of collateral so that more persons of limited means, without titles to valuable real estate, can also participate in reasonable banking proposals for the funding of their education?” He asked.

Thwaites also broached the idea of having the National Housing Trust target some of their capital investment towards student housing.

“As we deliberate, it is integral that we consider the financial challenges which we are facing as a region,” said Grace McLean, acting permanent secretary in the Ministry.

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