President of Ghana Union of Professional Students (GUPS), Mr Justice Aboagye-Sarpong has expressed disappointment and frustration in former students who have refused to settle their indebtedness to the Students Loan Trust Fund several years after school.
According to him, this irresponsible act clearly sabotages the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) goal 4 which seeks to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning for all by 2030.
He has called on the CEO of Students Loan Trust Fund, Nana Kwaku Agyei Yeboah and government to consider prosecuting defaulters to refund the loans to be accessed by others. This call he explains, is necessitated by the frustration and embarrassment students went through to fulfill their financial obligations in their institutions to be considered to access educational facilities.
According to him, a lot of students using the fund to support their education became traumatized due to pressure from their institutions to pay fees and the delay in release of the fund from the Students Loan secretariat.
‘’The Psychological effect almost caused a nationwide demonstration against government’’ he averred.
The GUPS president added further that ‘’Ghanaians should take note that Students loan is not a charity organisation. It is a constitutionally mandated institution with the objective to provide financial resources for sound management of the Trust for the benefit of students and to help facilitate the national ideals enshrined in article 28 and 38 of the 1992 constitution. It is therefore incumbent on any responsible Ghanaian to refund any amount given out by the secretariat for the money to recycle. Unfortunately people take loans and refuse to pay back. This is one of the reasons that accounts for the secretariat’s lack of financial resource to meet the request of all students’’.
He added that ‘’In view of this, we call on government to start prosecuting people who have refused to pay their debt in order to get enough funds to support the educational needs of students to get the peace of mind to study. We are in contact with government. We assure students to remain calm as we take steps to resolve the issue to avoid recurrence coming semester.We are reliably informed that the secretariat has released 80% of the fund. We will help the secretariat in any capacity we can to retrieve all monies released to former students who are adamant to repay causing the artificial problems for current students. We are also pleading with all all former students who have accessed the Trust Fund since 2005 to offset their debt as responsible citizens’’.
Mr Aboagye-Sarpong lamented bitterly that he knows a lot of them are in high positions now but as to why they are not paying, defies logic.
He also commended H.E. Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo and the CEO of Students Loan Trust Fund, Nana Agyei Yeboah for the wise decision to increase the fund by 50% and making it accessible to all students with commitment. In 2016, the minimum amount was increased from Ghc 650-Ghc 1000 in an academic year. The amount was increased in 2017 from a minimum of Ghc 2000 to Ghc 3000.
‘We plead with government to push more funds into SLTF because future leaders need this support to finance their education in order that we can achieve inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning for all by 2030’’ he added.