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‘Pay Up’: Students Ignore Loan Plea

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE Education Loan Authority (ELA) is expected to resume loan services to students in the “not too distant future,” ELA Chairman Michael Foulkes disclosed yesterday, adding the entity has also commenced legal action in the Supreme Court against delinquent borrowers and guarantors to recover the more than $150m it is owed.

Mr Foulkes made the statement in the House of Assembly during continued contributions from MPs thanking Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling for delivering the Speech from the Throne in May.

According to the Golden Gates MP, requests to have loan holders come in and amicably agree to settlements and payment options have only resulted in 25 per cent of persons with delinquent accounts either paying their loans in full or becoming current on their loans.

Mr Foulkes said this leaves a “whopping and unacceptable” 75 per cent of loan holders who have not paid or made attempts to pay.

He said the trend continues despite an incentive programme put in place by the ELA to help students who recognise the need to pay off their loans.

That programme will be discontinued in February 2018.

To that end, Mr Foulkes said the board of the ELA recently met and is “thoroughly and fully committed” to availing itself of every legal avenue at its disposal to ensure, as best it can, that all the loans are repaid.”

In June, Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd warned those owing the ELA to either pay up or face “grief.” He said the outstanding payments placed a roadblock before the government in approving new scholarship applications.

Mr Foulkes yesterday informed Parliament the ELA board will continue to whenever and wherever possible, bring legal action in the Supreme Court against borrowers and guarantors.

“No loans have been extended over the past eight years because in excess of $157 million is outstanding to date. That is $157 million,” Mr Foulkes said during his contribution. “Thousands of students returned home after completing their degrees. Most of them have jobs, some good jobs and some, well-paying jobs, but have not paid their loans or worse, not even made an effort to do so.

“Mr Speaker, in fact, there are in excess of 4,400 delinquent loans and of this group, the vast majority of the students, are right here at home, working, but are not paying these loans.”

He continued: “It may be hard to believe, but we have brothers and sisters among us, who obtained loans as much as $99,000 and never made one single, solitary payment over many years. They signed for the money, their guarantors or co-applicants also signed. They received the money and they never looked back.”

Mr Foulkes, reflecting on the turmoil his office faces as it continues to turn new applicants away due to a lack of financial resources, stated: “Mr Speaker, they should have looked back because, if they did, they might have been moved by the many persons who, just last month, were trying to find funds to attend college at home or abroad, but were unable to.”

He added: “Just perhaps, if they saw the many students, who received acceptance letters to many colleges and universities but could not avail themselves of those opportunities, perhaps then, they might have paid off their loan by now, or at least, made payments on a regular basis.”

Mr Foulkes urged all persons not paying their loans, and their guarantors or co-applicants, to contact the authority at 323-6322 or visit the ELA’s office at 97 Collins Avenue, so that an arrangement can be made.  

Comments

Clamshell 1 year, 1 month ago

What is it in the Bahamian character that says there is no need to ever repay a loan?

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 1 month ago

We are in the season of exposing, naming and shaming .......... Just publish a supplement in the Tribune and Guardian with the students names, guarantors and outstanding amounts owed to Government.

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tell_it_like_it_is 1 year, 1 month ago

Well they need to vet that list properly too. I had a family member a few years back receive a letter about repaying a student loan that they never received. They applied, but declined to accept it after receiving a US scholarship but the government still had their name on the list.
I hope the list is actually accurate.

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TalRussell 1 year, 1 month ago

Comrades! Will it be 'pay up' or 'leg irons?
What more is there to say about a red governing regime that might just be capable to go as far as to give their standard treatment of parading they own 'student loan recipients' down Bank Lane in leg irons - whilst they has no issues to be flying off whole delegations government officials - along with curious observing individuals to welcome another countries students to enroll into our done overcrowded, understaffed and under equipped classrooms?
Maybe there's but an innocent explanation - but I still thinks that expensive jet that transported everyone to the Dominican - should be publicly explained.... and where did that photo op helicopter suddenly appear from?

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OMG 1 year, 1 month ago

You really are a deluded , biased and stupid individual or you are highly intelligent and just make these comments to get peoples ire up. Firstly the far reaching Bahamian attitude of not paying you loan or "the cheque is in the mail" must be stopped. This is our money unlike the fraudsters (PLP) that you so blindly support who thought every dollar was "their money" Secondly I happen to agree with you on the jet issue and wonder why the delegation was so large to include even Belinda Wilson, but as for travel you have conveniently forgotten how much travel the previous government did (first class) to China and then Fred Mitchell who must have so many frequent flier miles accrued that he can never use them in this lifetime. And ask your self how much benefit did all his globe trotting benefit you, me or the public at large..

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DillyTree 1 year, 1 month ago

If these students won't pay, cancel their driver licenses and car registrations until the loans are paid, or a payment plan implemented. Time to get tough on these bums. Garnish wages if we have to, but that is taxpayer money that needs to be put back. You got the benefit of a loan, so pay it back. It's really not complicated!

Publish the names of these deadbeats who steal from the public purse.

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TheKop 1 year, 1 month ago

It could be the students cannot find jobs and without a job, how do you expect them to pay it back. Just because you have an education does not mean you will automatically get a job and many of you know this. The problem is bigger than students repaying loans, plus some go abroad and never come back. Why? Due to the lack of opportunity and in some cases low pay. Some loans are also made to students who have family members who issue the loans in the first place and are given to students who do not qualify. If the students who are really genuine and are given the opportunity, you will see loans repaid and even an economic boost. The ones you have to really look for, are the ones with the ability to pay, then fine and add interest to their payments, but even this method will come at a cost.

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DillyTree 1 year, 1 month ago

The government should make an effort to collect -- using whatever means that are legally available to them. If the person genuinely cannot pay, then that is another matter, but I find it hard to believe there aren't people who can't afford to pay after getting an education -- there are jobs out there if you really want one! It may not be the one you want, but there are jobs.

Are you seriously telling me that someone can't come up with $10 month to start paying back their loan? Bet all these people have cars, cell phones and other assets, so it's not like they are broke. Enough sucking the public teat!

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Cobalt 1 year, 1 month ago

How are students expected to pay educational loans when they're unemployed?

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Reality_Check 1 year, 1 month ago

Less than 30% in the unemployment predicament - what would you suggest be done about the remaining 70+%?

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OMG 1 year, 1 month ago

75 % are not all unemployed.

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TalRussell 1 year, 1 month ago

Comrade ELA Chairman Michael Foulkes, is you willing to report back within 72 hours to disclosure - if any red shirts MP's, Senators, red party office holders, or recent political appointments of some 4000 persons to the various 123 government boards, have outstanding ELA loans, and if so, has the same Supreme Court legal action been taken against those delinquent borrowers, and guarantors, to recover whatever monies they is owing?
Are any of the new hires recruited into the various ministerial offices - not up to date with their ELA loans. Also, what exactly constitutes a sufficient payment default to generate a Supreme Court Action? Have any government contracts been signed, or business conducted with companies whose directors/officers are in default ELA loans?

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thephoenix562 1 year, 1 month ago

WTF. You cant collect 157 million but you plan to lend more.Stop the madness.When i paid off my mortgage the bank called me 5 weeks later to say i still owed $47.23.So who the hell is trying to collect the Bahamian peoples money.You put up your house as collateral sooo.....

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DDK 1 year, 1 month ago

One wonders whether these educational loans were ever properly collateralized. There are also the loan guarantors................

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 1 month ago

What may be so embarrassing is that many of the politicians' families. friends and lovers children may be on that list ....... the vast majority are also children who attended private school. So, there will be a lot of hand-wringing around the ELA or Cabinet table before this list is exposed (like BPL, WSC etc.) ........ This cuts to the very core of the "educational entitlement syndrome" that has destroyed our public school system ....... then Big-Mouth Lloyd is out there hollering about poor BJC and BGCSE results in the (public) schools ......... smt

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TalRussell 1 year, 1 month ago

Comrade Sheeprunner12, such politicians and appointees, could very well be classified as "Guarantors" of the family members delinquent borrowers.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 1 month ago

You are quite right ....... that just compounds the problem

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viewersmatters 1 year, 1 month ago

For those who questioned how do you repay a loan if your unemployed? how about asking that to the bank after borrowing money and signing a contract to repay your loan with interest! if you borrow something its clearly not yours to keep and if you go ahead and make an agreement to repay what you borrow it is your very own duty to repay your depth its not the government concern or anyone else concern how you pay it the main thing is they went into a contractual agreement on a certain terms and condition and now they are being dishonest after receiving what they wanted and not repaying there is no excuse, just like any other citizen of the Bahamas when we have a loan and dont have a job we go out there find a job and pay own loans, cant go to BTC, BEC, Water and Sewerage and begged them no to disconnect because were unemployed. If you dont have a job simple get up like we normal people do and find a job and repay your loan.

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BMW 1 year, 1 month ago

Clanshell it is called entitlement which has been bred into bahamians since slop days. I believe if you sign an agreement you must stand by that agreement. Stop thinking of excuses not to pay, instead get off your entitled ass and make an effort to pay your agreement.

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