THE cost of higher education may sometimes be prohibitive for students with limited financial resources.
Some are fortunate to obtain scholarships, while others have found benefactors to pay for their tuition and living expenditures.
But for many young Malaysians, including Calan Moy Ka-Shing and Ng Zhi Ching, education loans are a lifeline for pursuing their tertiary education dreams.
The 22-year-olds, from INTI International College Subang (INTI) are borrowers of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN).
Moy and Ng are currently pursuing their Bachelor (Hons) of Computer Science (Software Engineering and Digital Systems Security) and Bachelor (Hons) of Accounting and Finance, respectively.
Loans and financial aid, said Moy, are crucial especially for families facing financial difficulties resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Besides supporting students financially, the education loans from PTPTN and scholarships motivate students to study hard.
“I have seen my friends go the extra mile to make sure that they get to keep their scholarships, ” Moy said, adding that the financial aid from INTI was really helpful for him as the pandemic had taken a toll on the family’s finances.
“The funds helped me to complete my studies during the semester.
“The PTPTN loan was insufficient to cover the full cost of my programme but it eased our family’s financial strain. I am thankful the loan was approved at a time when I needed it the most, ” he said.
PTPTN was founded in 1997 with the aim of assisting students with funding their undergraduate degrees. Since its establishment, PTPTN has financed more than 60% of Malaysian students in pursuing their studies both at private and public higher education institutions.
Available to all Malaysians who are pursuing higher studies at public and private learning institutions in the country, PTPTN loans are meant to help students pursue their diploma or degree programmes that have been accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).
The PTPTN loan allows students to fully or partially pay their tuition fees, as well as cover their cost of living throughout their studies.
Having done well in accounting in her secondary school years, Ng is happy to be able to pursue the course of her choice having secured financial aid from INTI and PTPTN.
“A heavy weight was lifted off my parents’ shoulders and they did not have to worry about how they were going to pay for my fees every semester.
“They can help with my living costs as my tuition fees are partially covered, ” she said.
She added that financial aid provided by higher education institutions and government corporations like PTPTN are helpful for students.
This is especially so for those from B40 and M40 families that have been hit hard by the current economic situation.
“Those in the B40 and M40 groups are struggling especially if they have more than one child to worry about.
“Education loans, in particular, play an important role for these families because it is a means to support their children and ensure a brighter future for the next generation, ” she said.