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The National Executive Committee of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has threatened to stage a nationwide demonstration against the government, if management of the Student Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) continues to delay in the release of funds to students.

The student body which is not happy with the late disbursement of loans into accounts of beneficiaries, is also calling for the abolishment of the students’ loan scheme if government cannot continue to support the arrangement.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, the General Secretary of NUGS, Mr. Koku Abotsi, narrated how the three month delay in disbursement had adversely affected beneficiaries, resulting in the prevention of some students of the University of Ghana from writing their semester examination.

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“The legion of students who rely on the hand-to-mouth loans under the Student Loan Scheme are in absolute despondency following the failure of government to disburse monies to the fund.

Mr. Abotsi also claimed that reasons given by the Chief Executive Officer of the Fund last week when NUGS issued a statement on the matter for the non-disbursement of the loans, do not portray the reality on the ground.

According to him, their checks at other sectors of the economy were indicative of the fact that due considerations have not been given to them.

Meanwhile a statement issued by the Senior Public Relations Manager of the  Student Loan Trust Fund, George Ferguson Laing acknowledged the delayed disbursement of loans for the 2018/2019 academic year, but gave an assurance that the money would be disbursed by the end of November.

The statement explained further that at the beginning of the 2017/2018 academic year, the loan amount was increased by 50 per cent, which resulted in a surge in applications, putting a strain on the fund.

The SLTF increased the amount given each student as loan every academic year to a minimum of GH¢2,000 and a maximum GH¢3,000, beginning last academic year.

In 2016, the minimum amount was increased from GH¢650 to GH¢1,000 and the maximum from GH¢1,600 to GH¢2,000.

The loan is meant to defray personal expenses, including fees, the cost of boarding, lodging, books and equipment, and for other purposes that may be necessary for borrowers’ courses of study. The amount was adjusted to meet the increase in fees by tertiary institutions.

By Benjamin Nana Appiah/