SSS answers problems on tuition fees for college and tech-voc courses via its educational loan assistance

More Social Security System (SSS) members are expected to avail educational benefits this year to help lessen their tuition worries as the school opening for school year 2013-2014 is nearing.

The SSS said that it has widened the eligibility criteria for members hoping to borrow enrollment for college, technical and vocational courses.

It aims to improve access to higher education by providing financial assistance to SSS members/beneficiaries and enhance the country’s economic productivity through the development of a larger pool of professionals and skilled workers to support the country’s industrial and agricultural expansion.

Under the SSS Educational Assistance Loan Program, or “Educ-Assist” members with basic monthly income of P15,000.00 or below are qualified to acquire loan intended for such purpose.

Aside from this, members must be active and have at least 36 monthly contributions, three of which should be within 12 months prior to loan application.

The members should also be up-to-date with other SSS loan payments. The maximum loanable amount per semester or trimester is P15,000.00 for college degrees and P7,500.00 for voc-tech courses.

Some members can avail of loans of up to P15,000 every semester or trimester, and loan repayment will only start a year after graduation,

The covered beneficiaries are member, legal spouse, child of SSS member (including illegitimate) and sibling of unmarried SSS member (including half brother/sister).

Once the beneficiary is designated, no substitution is allowed. The fund allocation for this program is P7.0-Billion according to SSS President and CEO Emilio de Quiros.

“It is funded on a 50:50 basis. P3.5 Billion shall come from the National Government (NG) and the other P3.5 Billion comes from the SSS,” he added. In the part of SSS, interest of 6% per annum based on diminishing balance until the loan is fully paid is charge, while the NG portion shares no charges or has no interest.

For the loan for a Degree course, the term is up to 5 years and loan payment shall start after 18 months for semestral courses or 15 months for trimestral courses from the scheduled last release date or from the date of last release for those who will not avail of the subsequent releases.

For the Vocational/technical course, the term is up to three years and loan repayment shall start after 18 months for semestral courses or 15 months for trimestral courses from the scheduled last release date or from the date of last release for those who will not avail of the subsequent release.

The Educ-Assist facility has drawn over 7,000 availments since its launchLast May 2012. So far the SSS has disbursed s total of P85.27 million for Educ-Assist loans, of which about P83 million covered tuitions of over 6,800 college students.