Student Loan Problem in SVG

Photo Credit Jonathan Daniels

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With an estimated population of 102,350 you would expect Saint Vincent and the Grenadines debts to be low, however as of 2016, residents owed a total debt of $639 million, an increase of 40 million from the year before.

The rising number of individuals struggling to pay off their debts continues to grow year on year and simple boosts are a great way to help borrowers out.

The idea of awarding students with exceptional performance is a great way to increase a student’s confidence and give them some much-needed cash that can be towards their living expenses.

Student loans

The National Student Loan Programme for St. Vincent and the Grenadines was introduced in 1994. Funds are provided to students via a loan from financial institutions who obtain the funding from the National Insurance Services.

There is a maximum loan amount of EC$ 120,000, with an annual interest charge of 8.5%

An additional program – the Economically Disadvantaged Student Loan Program – became available in 2002. The main purpose of the new loan program is to benefit some of the most academically promising yet poorest members of society with help in furthering their education.

Student debt worsening

Kingstown, the largest city in St. Vincent, unsurprisingly has the biggest student debt problem in the country. In 2017 it was reported that 25% of students were not paying back the money they owe under the economically disadvantaged student loan program.

This led the Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, to beg students to pay these funds back to benefit the country, the individuals themselves and their families.

Why is there so much student debt?

Occupants living in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines face high taxes that continue to increase. There is also a considerable unemployment problem and those that are in employment receive some of the lowest wages in OECS.

Compare this to the locations in America with the worst student debt where employment figures are much higher and taxes and wages are reasonable and you can see why those in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are struggling to pay their student debt back.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has a national debt crisis on their hands, which is only made worse by ever growing unpaid student loans. Therefore, it is of great importance that the country’s occupants pay their debts to assist in the country’s recovery.

Lucy Wyndham