Education loan to be given on yearly basis, no quotas set

National 2 minutes, 46 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

THE new education loan facility will be offered yearly to students who do not receive government scholarships for their undergraduate studies.

Hj Ibrahim Hj Bagol, head of Scholarship Section at the Ministry of Education, told The Brunei Times that the government will provide the highly sought-after loan facility annually to students with no quotas set on the amount of loans available.

Applications for the first batch of loans are now accepted for the September 2014/2015 intake, but Hj Ibrahim indicated that applications could open more than once throughout the year.

The loan facility has garnered a lot of public attention since it was approved by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in his 68th birthday titah on August 14, but some parents and students are calling for a revision of the loan criteria.

During a public briefing on the education loan facility yesterday, members of the audience described the loan criteria as “stringent” and requested for lenient eligibility requirements.

In order to be eligible for a loan, students need to secure a place at higher institutions that are ranked top 20 in their chosen field or select institutions ranked in the Top 40 of The Times Good University Guide or US News and World Report Best Colleges.

Alternatively, they can also apply from Tier 5 of the 2011 rating system for Malaysian Higher Education Institutions (SETARA 11), or the top 300 institutions based on the QS World University Rankings.

Open to Bruneian citizens under the age of 26, students must obtain a minimum of 240 UCAS tariff points or 30 points in the International Baccalaureate (IB), while diploma holders will need a 2.5 GPA from the 3.0 grade system.

Applicants must also achieve either at least a grade C6 in English Language at O Levels; Grade C in English as Second Language at IGCSE; Grade C in General Paper at AS Levels; or Band 6.0 in IELTS.

Meanwhile, private applicants who are currently doing their undergraduate degrees are required to have a minimum of a Second Upper Class (2:1) or its equivalent at the end of their programme, and fulfil prerequisites set by the respective higher institutions.

In addition, applicants for the loan facility will also need to pass selection interviews and security vetting.

The prerequisites differ to the government scholarship as applicants for the loan facility do not necessarily have to obtain a C6 in the Malay Language at O Levels. Unlike students under the loan, government scholars also need to meet both rankings within the chosen field and overall rankings.

In response to the feedback from the audience during the public briefing, Hj Ibrahim said their suggestions and concerns will be taken into consideration by the government.

He explained that the eligibility requirements for the loan facility were set to ensure that quality students with academic potential are given the opportunity to pursue their undergraduate studies in top institutions locally or abroad in line with the aspirations of National Vision 2035.

“The criteria will serve as a guarantee that the students will complete their studies and repay their loan,” he said during the briefing at the Chancellor Hall, UBD. More information on the loan facility and the application forms are available on the Ministry of Education website at www.moe.gov.bn and at Conference Hall 1, Ministry of Education, Old Airport, Berakas. The public can also contact the Scholarship section at 2380019.

The Brunei Times