Student loan repayments have been halted for the past two years.
Director General of the Tertiary Scholarships and Loans Department Dr. Hasmukh Lal said the government made the decision in light of the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Lal says that according to their calculations, 29,762 students would now have to work to pay off their debts.
CEO of TSLS claims that a number of students chose to take a break from their studies during the pandemic period and this was due to the problems they were facing at home and also the stress associated with accessing the digital learning resources.
“The government took the decision in 2020 and 2021 to suspend reimbursement, which had a real impact, but from this year graduates who are in the labor market have started to reimburse.”
Lal says they are encouraging those who have not returned to resume their studies at various tertiary institutions to do so at the earliest so that they get a qualification and eventually repay their loan.
Director General of Tertiary Grants and Loans Department, Dr. Hasmukh Lal with Mark Dixion
The chief executive of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service, Mark Dixon, said he would work with TSLS to ensure that students pay off their debt accumulated during their studies.
“The key to the success of the program is for students to find employment, which was obviously difficult during the COVID period and we have seen that change now. We see employment opportunities for them in Fiji and overseas, so their ability to repay the loan increases.
This year, the tuition and stipend for Semester 1 is $60.8 million and TSLS has paid over $16 million in student stipends.