Ways to get funding


BY SIMRIT KAUR

STUDENTS applying for a scholarship under the Star Education Fund 2004 should use their SPM forecast results. Fund secretary Ng Kok Wah said that provisional offers would be made using forecast results but students must send their actual SPM results once it is announced.  

The closing date for applications to the Fund is March 12 while the SPM results are expected to be released on Feb 28. 

“Don’t wait until the SPM results are announced to send in your application. Sending your form early will help us expedite the process,’’ he said at a talk on the Fund held in conjunction with the Star Education Fair 2004. 

This year, the Star Education Fund is offering 348 scholarships worth 9.5mil, contributed by 47 higher education institutions, both local and foreign. 

Nik Mohd Nasir Nik Rithauddeen, head of the finance division at Bank Rakyat.

Scholarships are available for diploma, degree and postgraduate programmes but they only cover the tuition fee, emphasised Ng. “Other fees and the cost of living expenses will have to be borne by you,’’ he told over 300 students and parents. 

Fund executive Katherine Poh reminded students not to enrol for an academic programme just because there are scholarships. 

“Don’t take a course just because scholarships are offered. Bear in mind that the scholarship agreement bonds you to completing the course. So please visit the college first and be really sure that this is what you want to do.” 

She also gave them tips on how to conduct themselves during the scholarship interview, adding that their performance during the interview is a crucial factor in the decision-making process. 

“Make sure you fill up your application form personally and photocopy it because we will be asking you questions based on it. Parents, please don’t fill up the form for your children.” 

Poh added that the interview was aimed at gauging students’ personality and suitability for the course that they apply for. 

“If you intend to do Mass Communication we want to see how well you express yourself. If you applied for Engineering, you must know a little about the programme and the college.This will show us if you have done your homework and how interested you are.” 

A related was Funding Higher Education. Held on the first day of the Fair, the speakers were Sharifah Norashikin, an officer with the Complaints Department at the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN); Woon Ooi Kai, general manager with Koperasi Jayadiri Malaysia Bhd (Kojadi); and Nik Mohd Nasir Nik Rithauddeen, head of the finance division at Bank Rakyat. 

All three speakers explained how the educational loans given out by their respective organisations worked. Kojadi's Woon said that in order to apply for a loan, a student or parent would have to pay RM100 to become a member. To apply for a loan, a member would have to pay a RM2,000 deposit first. 

The cooperative offers loans ranging from RM15,000 to diploma students; RM30,00 for degrees; and up to RM50,000 for those intending to do a postgraduate course. 

“Our core business is to give loans to members. The amount you put in initially is less than 10% of the loan. And unlike PTPTN, we do not restrict the loan to only LAN approved courses. 

Students can study internationally or locally.” 

No collateral is needed, but there must be two guarantors. The interest rate is 9% for new members while those who have been with the cooperative for more than five years, are charged 8%. 

Nik Mohd Nasir also explained that Bank Rakyat gives out loans to both full-time and part-time students. “The maximum amount is RM50,000 for which no collateral is needed. “You can take an educational loan of up to RM100,000 and above subject to adequate collateral. The collateral must be 60%-70% of the loan amount.” 

He added that for educational loans, the student acts as a guarantor as “we want them to be responsible for the loan too.” 

Sharifah, in her briefing, emphasised that PTPTN loans are only given to students on full-time courses. From this year, PTPTN has also decided to stop funding Master and PhD students. 

“Unlike other loan schemes, we do not require guarantors or collateral. And, following Budget 2004, the administrative fee has been reduced from 4% to 3% only. Students who obtain first class are exempted from repayment; however, second class upper and lower honours students must repay the full amount,'' she said. 

The loan amount varies from RM1,000 to RM6,000 at public higher education institutions, and RM4,200 to RM20,000 at private institutions per year. 

“Repayment is done based on a fixed monthly instalment and the repayment period is between 10-20 years depending on the type of qualification and institution. Remember it is a loan, and you have to pay back. Only when you start paying us can we help other students.” 

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