|VBSP is offering students a chance to continue their education without needing to worry about money |
The family of Vo Thi Hoa in Phu Vang hamlet, Mo Duc district in the central province of Quang Ngai is one of the many near-poverty households in the area. The family has been facing constant strife while bringing up their children to then prove unable to make ends meet while their three children were at university.
In these tough times, Hoa was recommended by Duc Hiep Commune Women’s Union to apply for a concessionary credit programme catering to students of VBSP’s branch office in Mo Duc district.
“We were very happy when our children successfully passed their exams and were admitted to university but were also filled with concerns due to the high costs of living and learning. With the capital from this preferential credit policy, each month I had some extra money to help them with their expenses,” said Hoa, adding that without the bank’s preferential loan scheme for students, their family could hardly afford higher education for their children.
Similarly, the family of Trinh Thi Cuc, also in Hoa Vang hamlet, was also bogged down in difficulties after her four children gained entry to university. Following a recommendation, Cuc has decided to take up concessionary loans for students with difficult living conditions.
“The preferential credit programme dedicated to needy students has helped my children, as well as many others, to further their learning path, sowing hope for a better future,” said Cuc.
After 13 years of implementation, VBSP’s preferential credit programme has provided an efficient linkage, helping several dozen thousand pupils and students across Quang Ngai to continue their learning journey. By the end of July 2020, the province reported more than VND94 trillion ($4.1 billion) in outstanding loan balance given to needy students, with a total of current 3,666 beneficiaries.
Ready for new academic year
It is now a high time for students to start the new academic year, with many coming from needy households that are short of capital to go to school. VBSP’s Quang Ngai branch has therefore assigned its branch offices at the grassroots level to prepare sufficient capital sources to meet students’ demands.
According to Nguyen Minh No, director of VBSP’s Mo Duc district branch, in this academic year Mo Duc is home to about 300-350 students who are enrolled at different colleges, universities, and professional technical high schools across the country.
The bank, therefore, has prepared about VND1.5 billion ($65,220) to cover their needs. In addition, the bank has also enriched capital sources to ensure timely disbursement to other customers who are students at schools and universities already having loans at the bank.
Under this preferential credit programme for students, a family representative directly takes up the loan and is responsible for paying back. In case the students are orphans, or are raised by single parents with reduced labour capacity, they can directly borrow at a VBSP branch where their school or college is located. The preferential interest rate is 0.55 per cent per month.
To stop students from dropping out of school due to financial hardships, in the past couple of years VBSP, in tandem with local governments and diverse collective organisations, are doing a smart job of propagating lending sources and ensuring clear and transparent access at the grassroots level.
Selection and assessment procedures are performed by local savings units with support from VBSP and local management agencies to ensure transparency. This is to assure the loans go to the right people while also helping drive down overdue debts.