The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) recently rolled out a lending program to financially assist low-income families in sending their students to school amid the coronavirus-induced economic crisis this coming school year.
The Interim Students’ Loan for Tuition toward Upliftment of Education for the Development of the Youth (i-STUDY) is an education-friendly program that will allow parents, guardians, or benefactors of students in private schools to borrow an amount equivalent to one school year or two semesters. According to a report by LANDBANK President-chief executive officer Cecilia Borromeo to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, a student may also borrow up to P150,000.
Borromeo said the i-STUDY program was introduced by LANDBANK “in response to President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s call on the institution to support students during this time of crisis.”
Loans under the program, which cannot exceed PHP300,000 per eligible borrower, carries an affordable fixed interest rate of 5 percent per year.
Short-term loans payable within one year are available for pre-school, primary, and secondary school students under the program. Meanwhile, term loans payable up to a maximum of three years, inclusive of a one-year grace period on the principal amount is available for tertiary level students.
“This program will not only help families who have kids they want to send to school, but will also assist private schools and downstream industries to sustain and continue their operations,” Borromeo said.
President Duterte earlier assured parents that he would open LANDBANK to them to assist in continuing the education of their children even amid the economic woes triggered by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Before the i-STUDY program, LANDBANK also launched in May this year a lending program targeting private schools hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.
An initial batch of over 60 private educational institutions has expressed interest in tapping LANDBANK’s Access to Academic Development to Empower the Masses towards Endless Opportunities (ACADEME) lending program.
As of August 19, the LANDBANK board chaired by Dominguez has approved the application under the ACADEME program of four institutions for loans with a combined amount of PHP330 million.
The P3-billion ACADEME program aims to extend credit to private high schools, private technical-vocational education training institutions, colleges, and universities. This program intends to encourage students to enrol under a “study now, pay later” setup by allowing their parents to issue promissory notes for their academic fees.
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These promissory notes will then be refinanced or rediscounted under the program, with schools allowed to borrow as much as 70 percent of the sub-promissory note per semester and subject.
However, schools can only borrow up to a certain maximum amount based on the net borrowing capacity of the institution.
This lending program is available until June 30, 2021.
As of August 19, Borromeo said five schools have partially submitted their documentary requirements for the program, while six loan applications are up for approval during the September 2020 meeting of the Bank’s board and credit committee.
Submission of the documentary requirements is still pending for 18 other schools that have signified their intention to avail of the ACADEME lending program.
Another 32 schools across the country have likewise expressed interest in availing of the ACADEME facility, Borromeo said.
Loans under the program carry an interest rate of 3 percent per annum and are payable based on the maturity of the sub-promissory notes but not to exceed three years.