The Social Security System (SSS) has announced the terms of its P7 billion loan window for college education and skills training as part of the government's effort to ensure productive employment of workers.
Members earning P10,000 or less a month can apply for the SSS-Educational Assistance Loan Program (SSS-EALP) that will cover educational costs for college, vocational and technical courses.
To be eligible, a member should have at least 36 contributions -- including three monthly premiums within the past 12 months -- to borrow for educational expenses of one beneficiary. The member must also be paying premiums based on a monthly salary credit of P10,000 or lower.
Beneficiaries may cover the member himself, legal spouse(s), or children. Unmarried members can use the loan for the education of their siblings. There will be no substitution of beneficiary though for ensuring students finish their studies and obtain their degree.
Here are the other details and guidelines:
- Maximum loan amount per semester or trimester is P 15,000 for college and P7,500 for a vocational or technical course (must be a two-year degree program or higher).
- Loan releases will be made payable to the school and must be used for tuition and miscellaneous fees only. The school must be accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) or the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
- Members have up to three years to repay the loan for voc-tech courses and up to five years for college degrees. The grace period before repayment, which will start on the date of the final loan release, is 18 months for semestral courses and 15 months for trimestral programs.
- The loan amount shall be funded on a 50:50 basis from the national government and SSS. The SSS portion carries an interest rate of six percent per annum based on diminishing principal balance until fully paid, while the government share has zero interest.
To apply, members must accomplish a loan application form and submit a school-issued billing statement to their nearest SSS branch. Application forms for the EALP are available at SSS branches or may be downloaded from the SSS website (www.sss.gov.ph).