More time allowed to repay student loans, Singapore News & Top Stories
Graduates of polytechnics and autonomous universities will be able to defer their student loan repayments for an additional four months, as the government seeks to support those whose jobs could be affected by the economic uncertainty induced by the pandemic.
These loan and interest repayments were suspended by the Department of Education (MOE) for one year from June 1 of last year to May 31 of this year. The extension means that graduates of autonomous universities and polytechnics will not have to start repayments until after September 30.
The finance ministry said in a separate statement that the extension would give graduates more time to find a stable financial base and to plan their finances.
No interest, whether standard interest or penalty interest, will be charged on any outstanding government loans during the additional four months. This includes tuition loans, student loans, and loans for student programs abroad.
The MOE said those with outstanding loans will automatically receive the extension.
They include graduates who have started repaying their loans and students who graduate before September 30 and still have loans to repay. Those who wish to continue repaying their loans can do so by informing their higher education institutions and banks to make the necessary arrangements.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said it was possible to extend the suspension further, but that will depend on the state of the current epidemic and the economy’s ability to recover, he said. he said yesterday at a virtual press conference.
He said: “Before the last round of heightened early warning measures, the economic outlook was improving … and if you look at the employment prospects of new graduates, they were improving as well.
“But given the latest situation, the uncertainty that the new strains (of virus) have posed not only to Singapore but also to the global economy … we spoke with the MOE and decided to give a short extension. “
Mr. Wong added, “If the situation does improve, and the current epidemic turns out to be temporary, we resume our recovery path and the external economy remains strong, then I think September should be a reasonable time.
“But if things were to get worse, whether on the external front or even in Singapore in terms of our own growth trajectory, then of course we will be willing to reconsider and see if further expansions are needed.”
Mr. Shivaram Rasu, 27, graduated from the National University of Singapore in June last year and has yet to start repaying his $ 40,000 student loan. While the research assistant has no reimbursement issues, he said the extension would help those who may still be struggling.
“The economic climate has been quite uncertain, so in a time like this this expansion will be a blessing,” he said.