Student bodies applaud initiatives

STUDENT associations of two major universities in the Western Division have applauded the initiatives announced for students in the 2018-2019 National Budget.

A total of 340 new Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS) scholarships have been unveiled, with 20 allocated for students with special needs. About $206m has been allocated for the 2018-2019 financial year to cater for up to 25,000 students.

Additionally, students currently under TELS scholarship would be given incentives if they pay off their loans ahead of time.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum explained that if a student owed $39,000 and was able to clear half the amount in the first three years after completion of studies, his or her remaining balance would be cleared as they would eventually get a discount of 50 per cent.

The bus fare allowance for TELS scholars was also increased from $15 a week to $30 a week.

University of Fiji student association president Anushek Kumar said this was a good budget for young people.

He said free education for primary and secondary school students was also a worthy initiative.

Mr Kumar said initiatives like the removal of fees for electronic transactions and maternity and paternity leaves would greatly benefit ordinary Fijians.

University of the South Pacific student association president Viliame Naulivou also commended the availability of scholarships, particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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