The Social Security System (SSS) has announced the terms of its new P7-billion loan window for college education and skills training, which is part of government’s efforts to enhance job prospects and ensure productive employment of current and future workers.
SSS Officer-in-Charge Edgar Solilapsi said members earning P10,000 or less a month can apply for the Educational Assistance Loan Program (EALP) to enable them or their dependents to defray enrollment costs for college, vocational and technical courses.
“The EALP aims to boost the country’s socio-economic growth by developing a larger pool of competent professionals and skilled workers. It will also help workers upgrade their knowledge and skills to secure better jobs and provide a brighter future for their family,” Solilapsi added.
Members with at least 36 contributions — including three monthly premiums within the past 12 months — are eligible to borrow for educational expenses of one beneficiary. The member must also be paying premiums based on a monthly salary credit of P10,000 or lower.
“The beneficiaries can be the SSS members themselves, legal spouses or children. Unmarried members can use the loan for the education of their siblings,” Solilapsi said. “However, no substitution of beneficiary will be allowed to ensure that students finish their studies and obtain their degree.”
The maximum loan amount per semester or trimester is P15,000 for college and P7,500 for a vocational or technical course, which must be a two-year degree program or higher. Loan releases will be made payable to the school and must be used for tuition and miscellaneous fees only. The school must be accredited by the Commission on Higher Education or the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Members have up to three years to repay the loan for voc-tech courses and up to five years for college degrees. The grace period before repayment, which will start on the date of the final loan release, is 18 months for semestral courses and 15 months for trimestral programs.
The P7-billion educational loan fund for private sector workers consists of P3.5 billion in national government subsidy and P3.5 billion from SSS. It can serve as a revolving fund that may be released to benefit more borrowers as these are recovered and collected, Solilapsi noted.
“The loan amount shall be funded on a 50:50 basis from the national government and SSS. The SSS portion carries an interest rate of six percent per annum based on diminishing principal balance until fully paid, while the government share has zero interest,” he added.
To apply, members must accomplish a loan application form and personally submit this and a school-issued billing statement to their nearest SSS branch. Application forms for the EALP are available at SSS branches or may be downloaded from the SSS website (www.sss.gov.ph).