State-owned Social Security System (SSS) said its educational loans increased by more than half in the first semester of the year due to additional expenses incurred by students for flexible learning amid the pandemic.
In a statement on Friday, July 23, Aurora C. Ignacio, SSS president and chief executive officer said the pension fund disbursed over P115.53 million for educational loans in January to June 2021, up 52 percent compared with P75.78 million in the previous year.
Ignacio said over 6,500 applications for tuition financing assistance were received by the SSS in the first six-months.
“Flexible learning during the new normal entails additional expenses—specifically for our students who need to purchase or upgrade their laptop/computer/tablet as well as select a good internet plan for a more stable connection,” Ignacio said.
The SSS Educational Assistance Loan Program (EALP) has been implemented in 2012 to help member-borrowers and their covered beneficiaries defray their educational expenses for undergraduate/college degrees, as well as vocational or technical courses.
Initially, it has a total budget allocation of P7 billion, 50 percent of which came from the national government and the remaining half from the SSS.
Eligible borrowers are those who are below 60 years old, whose actual monthly basic income is P25,000.00 or below, and with at least 36 posted contributions, six of which are posted within the last 12 months prior to the month of filing their EALP application.
Payment of member’s other existing member loans should be updated to qualify for the EALP. Disqualified are those with overdue accounts with SSS.
Covered beneficiaries are the member-borrower, his/her legal spouse, his/her legitimate/illegitimate or legally adopted children, and sibling of member-borrower, if his/her civil status is single, including half-brothers/sisters.
An eligible member-borrower is allowed only one loan beneficiary at a time, and substitution of beneficiary is not allowed. Likewise, full scholars with zero tuition/miscellaneous fees/assessment balance are not eligible as beneficiaries.
The maximum loanable amount for a degree course is P20,000 per semester/trimester/quarter or net tuition/miscellaneous fees/assessment balance on cash basis, whichever is lower.
For a four-year degree program or its equivalent, the maximum number of availments is eight semesters/12 trimesters/16 quarters, or P160,000.00 as full allocation.
The maximum number of availments for a 5-year degree program or its equivalent is ten semesters/15 trimesters/20 quarters, or a maximum of P200,000.00 full allocation.
For a two-year vocational/technical course, the maximum loanable amount is P10,000.00 per semester/trimester or net tuition/miscellaneous fees/assessment balance on cash basis, whichever is lower.
The maximum number of availments is four semesters or a maximum of P40,000.00 full allocation. For a trimester program, the maximum number of availments shall be six trimesters or a maximum of P60,000.00 allocation.