TELS: $302million given so far

FRCS chief executive officer Visvanath Das. Once the CEO is satisfied that the conditions are or will be met, provisional approval will be granted in writing. Picture: FT FILE

FRCS chief executive officer Visvanath Das. . Picture: FT FILE

DEBT repayment for the State’s Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) will start once the recipient finds a secure job, says Fiji Revenue and Customs Service chief executive officer Visvanath Das.

Mr Das said some recipients would pay off their debts on a voluntary basis.

Since 2014, he said, a total of $302 million in loans were disbursed to 54,805 students throughout the country.

“Ordinarily, once the student gets a paid job, then the repayment obligation kicks in,” Mr Das said.

“So from that point in time, the student should start paying the debt, but again the policy is saying that the repayment must be at the rate of 20 per cent of their annual gross earnings (wages/salary).

“Let’s be clear here that the 20 per cent relates to debt repayment and not interest charge.

“If an installment payment approach is taken for repayment then that it is not more than one-fifth of the gross income. This leaves four-fifth of the income at the student’s disposal,” Mr Das said.

He also said students’ scholarships were terminated because of poor academic results.

Mr Das said it was also the students’ choice to terminate TELS because of poor performance.

“In both the circumstances, there is a 10 per cent penalty.

“The principle of penalty is creating deterrent effect that disincentivise students failing courses and students do not tie up scheme funding,” he said.

Mr Das reminded students to appreciate the opportunities provided by the scheme and to familiarise themselves with correct information on the scheme.

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