PUTRAJAYA: From next year, all applicants for loans under the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) must open an account with the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) with a minimum amount of RM20 savings.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the condition was reintroduced to encourage the culture of savings in the community as a preparation for children to enter institutions of higher learning (IPT).
“We encourage all ages, even babies, to save. We have also made it easier to open an account. If it took 14 days in the past to open an account, now it will only take one day,” he told reporters after opening a PTPTN with IPT seminar, relaunching of SSPN and handing over of education endowments from financial institutions to PTPTN, here yesterday.
SSPN was initiated in 2004 and in 2008 the opening of an account was made a condition for IPT students to get PTPTN loans. It was abolished in 2009 until 2011 due to problems in the system. Since its launch in 2004 until now, SSPN had 990,000 depositors with a total savings of RM465 million.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Khaled lauded contributions from financial institutions or corporate bodies which wanted to give educational endowments as a bursary to PTPTN to help finance poor students to study at institutions of higher learning.
“PTPTN plans to manage the fund. Other than the PTPTN loans that they get, qualified students could also get additional financial assistance from the education endowment.
“PTPTN will come up with the criteria as to who could get help from the endowment and how it is to be done. For example, a student who gets RM15,000 from PTPTN for the duration of his studies could be given RM2,000 from the endowment to partly pay his loan leaving him with only RM13,000 to settle,” he said.
He expected assistance for students under the fund would start as early as September or next year.
An education endowment amounting to RM250,000 was received from several corporate agencies yesterday. — Bernama