Some students of the Coalition of Aggrieved Students’ Loan Beneficiaries have set February 28 to embark on a street protest to press home demands for the release of funds due them.
The students for close to a month have been agitating for the Students’ Loan Trust fund to release arrears owed them.
The Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) is the state agency responsible for providing financial support and resources for the management of the trust for the benefit of students.
Convener of the aggrieved students, Adjei Boakye speaking to Citi News said the Ministry of Finance and GetFund were causing the delays.
He, therefore, said students will put pressure on SLTF so they can also channel their concerns to the Ministry and GetFund.
“The challenges are rather coming from the Ministry of Finance and GetFund.They haven’t released their quota and this is where the challenges are coming from so when you put pressure on them, they can also channel that pressure to the Ministry and GetFund.”
He further spoke about the ordeal some students in some institutions are going through.
“At Takoradi technical university, hundreds of students have been sent away in the name of registration because they haven’t registered since last semester so their names are not with the school and the school has asked them to defer and most of these students are beneficiaries of the student loan trust fund so we are expecting thousands of them to hit the streets and we will picket at the office of the Students Trust Fund. The Ministry of Finance and the Fund will also have their share.
Meanwhile, the Head of Public Affairs at the Trust Fund, George Ferguson Liang, says he understands the plight of the students.
He was however quick to add that a demonstration will not be the best option for now.
“They have every right to be angry and I can understand their frustrations because these monies are used for various things. I understand their frustrations but I am not convinced that, at this point, the demonstration is the best option going forward but like I said, it’s their call but as a fund, we are doing what we can with the resources that we have. We as a fund we have been engaging with the recognized student bodies on a regular basis”.
Last month, Students’ loan beneficiaries threatened to embark on a demonstration if funds due them are not released.
The beneficiaries, who come under the umbrella name, ‘Aggrieved Students Loan Beneficiaries,’ in a press statement expressed disappointment in the delayed disbursement which they claimed was having a toll on their academic work.
They also lamented over the grave effects of the late payment meant for the previous and newly-began semesters of the 2019/2020 academic year.
The Students Loan Trust Fund appealed to its beneficiaries to exercise patience over the delayed disbursement of funds due them for the 2019/2020 academic year.
In response to the concerns of the beneficiaries, the Head of Public Relations at the Trust Fund , George Ferguson Laing, told Citi News that his outfit was engaging with relevant stakeholders including the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and the Ministries of Education and Finance to ensure payments are effected soon.
“The impression is being created in the public space that we are not paying at all which is not correct. We cannot have administration by an ultimatum. We are doing what we can. It is not helpful for our most important stakeholder; students to be giving us unrealistic timelines. We are doing what we can and we would appreciate if they would bear with us while we resolve the issue.”
“This is not the first time there have been delays in payment since the inception of funds in 2015. We always regret when there are such delays. We always regret the inconveniences but there has not been a single academic year in our history that students have not been paid. they’ll definitely be paid. We are sorry for the delays but everyone will eventually be paid. That is an assurance I can put my head on the chopping block for,” he assured.