Tuesday, 4 November 2014 01:24
By Inshira Shainaz
Pan Asia Bank launched Aspire, a novel educational loan scheme, to support students pursuing their higher studies in Sri Lanka or abroad.
Aspire is a loan scheme provided for parents who wish to spend on their children’s higher education at UGC-approved private or semi-government local universities or pay for them to sit recognised professional exams.
It also targets employed professionals who wish to complete recognised professional exams or gain UGC-approved external degrees, Master’s degrees and PHDs.
The loan facility has been designed in a way where funds will be directed to the respective institute or university as a draft or direct transfer.
Pan Asia Bank Chief Executive Officer P.L.D.N Seneviratne stated: “Although Sri Lanka can boast of a high literacy rate, those who achieve personal education are relatively few in number. It’s important that we have highly-skilled professionals. As a private sector bank this is one way that we can help our country.”
The minimum amount of the Aspire loan scheme is Rs. 50,000 and the maximum is Rs. 7.5 million. The maximum repayment period is seven years and the interest rate is 12.5% per annum which works out to only Rs.1, 792 per month for Rs. 100,000.
Tangible collateral will not be requested up to Rs. 2.5 million from employed parents or students depending on repayment capacity. Repayment terms will be on an EMI basis or balloon payment once system migration is on.
An online approval process is in place for the first time in Sri Lanka, giving approval on principle, based on the information submitted.
Pan Asia Bank Assistant General Manager Naleen Edirisinghe said: “The education loan scheme was created with a lot of research which considered the Sri Lankan and world context regarding educational loans. As per the information obtained by the University Commission in 2013, approximately 250,000 students sat for the GCE A/L and out of that 144,000 got the minimum cut-off marks to enter government universities. Out of those only 25,000 students were admitted to government universities. In fact, now the Government has stated that they will increase this to 100,000 by 2020.
“On top of that we are discussing student population. Sri Lanka has eight million viable students. Out of those eight million, 1.3 million are in the public sector and 3.8 million are in the private sector, so these are the two segments we are looking at regarding this particular educational loan.”
A unique aspect of Aspire is its convenient loan application process which can be accessed through the bank’s website. Through this method an applicant can simply fill in the required information and instantly submit their application online.
Alternatively, a customer can step into any of the bank’s 78 branches island-wide and submit a loan application as well. Either way the bank promises fast and hassle free services on the processing of the application.