Govt fees frozen; student loan repayments to be suspended

The Government  will suspend all loan repayment and interest charges for graduates who have taken government loans for university and polytechnic studies.
The Government will suspend all loan repayment and interest charges for graduates who have taken government loans for university and polytechnic studies.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

The Government will freeze all government fees and charges for one year, starting from next month and ending March 31 next year.

It will also suspend all loan repayment and interest charges for graduates who have taken government loans for university and polytechnic studies, starting from June and ending May next year.

This is to help graduates who are worried about having to pay off student loans while finding jobs in this economic climate, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

He added that late payment charges on Housing Board (HDB) mortgage arrears will be suspended for three months to help those struggling with mortgage payments.

"HDB will continue to exercise flexibility when providing assistance during this period through existing measures such as deferring payment of loan instalments for six months," he said.

In a separate statement, the Education Ministry (MOE) said all increases for fees charged by ministries, organs of state and statutory boards will be put on hold for a year.

This will apply to fees for citizen children enrolled at MOE kindergartens, as well as government and government-aided schools.

It will also apply to tuition and miscellaneous fees for citizens enrolled in government-subsidised programmes at polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education. However, the deferment of fee increases will not apply to permanent residents and international students.

The suspension of loan repayments and interest charges applies to the tuition fee loan, study loan and overseas student programme loan. It will apply to graduates who have already started on their loan repayments, as well as those with outstanding government loans who will be graduating during the suspension period.

 
 

"Individuals who wish to continue repaying their loans can do so by informing their respective institutions and agent banks to make the necessary arrangements," MOE said.

Linette Lai

Read Mr Heng's full speech here.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2020, with the headline 'Govt fees frozen; student loan repayments to be suspended'. Print Edition | Subscribe