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Loans to nursing students fraught with problems: SLBC

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Providing education loans to students joining private nursing colleges outside the State is still an issue fraught with problems for the banks in the State, according to the State Level Bankers' Committee.

The issue figured prominently at the latest SLBC meeting held here last week. The agenda papers circulated at the meeting noted that the season for disbursing education loans was fast approaching.

However, the banks are in the dark on how to address the complicated matters involved in sanctioning loans to students of private nursing colleges in some of the neighbouring States.

The SLBC noted that norms were still not clear about the quantum of loan that could be provided to nursing students in such colleges. There was neither any uniformity in the fee structure nor any definite picture about how much fee some of these colleges were demanding from the students for the course. There were several agitations in Kerala last year to resolve the issue.

Agents of such colleges were misguiding the students and taking huge amounts as commission and this commission was being added to the course fee.

The SLBC noted that certain organisations had canvassed a number of students in recent years for these courses giving them the promise that they would arrange the loans to cover the college fees.

However, after enrolling the students for the courses and pocketing the commission, these organisations had disappeared from the scene, leaving the students in the lurch. The college authorities were withholding certificates to the students demanding the fees for the period of their study.

“Many people were convinced that education loan is a fundamental right and the banks are bound to give it. Several people and organisations are playing the card to generate strong feelings against the banks,” the agenda notes for the SLBC meeting said.

The budgetary announcement for giving interest concession during the loan moratorium period was also an issue with the public, the SLBC said. Though the SLBC had circulated to the banks the relevant government notification, no banks had issued any guidance to their branches on the subject so far.

Media coverage on the problems of the affected students was pushing the bank branches to an embarrassing situation, the SLBC said.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, who attended the latest SLBC meeting, touched upon this issue in his speech and said the Union government should step in to ensure the introduction of a definite and reasonable fee structure for such courses all over the country, besides setting clear norms on the quantum of the bank loan that could be given to students joining the courses.

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