TELS fund suspended

TELS board officer Jone Waisale (right) attends to a long queue of students with their applications to be processed at the TSLB office in Suva. Picture: FILE/JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

When her daughter’s Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) funds were suspended, Elesi Biauvere said her only hope was her retirement savings in the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF).

The Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board (TSLB) said student loans for Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Dentistry had been suspended.

Ms Biauvere said the suspension was a huge blow for low-income earning families like hers.

“After COVID-19 last year, I lost my job so I will use my FNPF money and apply for education assistance so my daughter can enrol into the Fiji School of Medicine,” she said.

“I have four kids who will be going to school this year and TELS was a huge help for us, so hearing of the TELS suspension has placed an extra burden on me and my husband.”

Ms Biauvere said between the ivi (chestnut) she sold and her husband’s earnings from a low-income job, there was barely enough to put food on the table for her family, let alone worry about education needs.

“COVID-19 and the recent cyclone have affected us a lot, so I had to cut down on some of our expenses and budget just to do my kids back to school shopping.”

Ms Biauvere said using her FNPF money to fund her daughter’s education was not an easy decision to make, but she was determined to help her daughter achieve her dream.

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