Students Loan Trust blows US$178,000 on rent

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Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF), the institution responsible for disbursing loans to needy students in various tertiary institutions, spent US$178,080 as a two-year rent advance in June 2011, the 2014 Auditor’s General’s report has revealed.

The Fund operates from a rented property located at Asylum Down in Accra, and pays rent in United States’ dollars, which is payable every two years at the prevailing exchange rate.

The Auditor General advised management of the Fund to put in place plans to acquire permanent premises.

Chief Executive Officer of the Fund, Sheila Naah Boamah, told the Public Accounts Committee of parliament that the fund has made several attempts in the past put up its own office accommodation to no avail.

Such attempts, she said, include application to University of Ghana and Lands Commission for land to be released for the Fund to build a permanent structure.

The fund, she said, has over the past years engaged all stakeholders in the education sector including the sector ministry, National Council for Tertiary Education and Land Commission for a parcel of land but without success.

Also, she said, the fund is yet to receive a response to an application it made to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing for government property that can be converted into office accommodation.

Currently the only source of funding is the allocation from GETFund which represents 10 percent of the inflows into the Fund. The allocation does not even come in full some times.

In 2014, the Fund received GH¢13million out of the total allocation of GH ¢15million.

SLTF established in 2006 has made some remarkable progress despite it challenges accessing for funds.

Mrs. Boamah disclosed to the media during the 10th anniversary of the Fund earlier in the year that it is reviewing the amount of money it gives to students in the country, to make it more realistic given the rising cost of education.

“Indeed, the Fund is working with some banks in the country to provide top-up loans to student groups with relatively more assured job opportunities but whose cost of education is high, such as the medical students, teacher trainees, nursing students, and even for working students.”

Currently, students are entitled to benefit from GH¢600, GH¢630 and GH¢1,600 per annum, depending on the students’ financial needs.

As a social intervention package by government, students are entitled to take the loan for a maximum of 6 years in their education life-cycle; and a 2-year grace period after completion and a repayment period of between 2 and 10 years to repay, depending on the number of years one enjoys the loan.