Education loan a boon, but interest rate a pinch: Students

BENGALURU: While education loans help many students pursue higher education in the country, they are seen as a burden when it comes to higher interest rates.
Rajesh Bhatt, who is pursuing M Tech in highway technology at the governmentrun Sri Krishnarajendra Silver Jubilee Technological Institute, is still haunted by the burden of an educational loan he’d availed from a nationalised bank while studying his engineering degree, though he has been managing to pay it off.

“Without taking a loan it is not possible to study engineering even at a government college. I took a loan of Rs 1.5 lakh for pursuing engineering for which I am paying 11% interest. While higher education expenses and fees are sky-rocketing even for merited students, why can’t the government make the loans interest-free?” he asked.

“I worked for three years before joining M Tech, but still couldn’t complete repaying the loan. I was, in fact, denied one for M Tech,” he added.

B C Mylarappa, professor at Bangalore University, pointed out, “Despite there being numerous avenues for education loans, scholarships and fellowships, students in higher education are not aware of the procedures to avail them, except for a small proportion of the student population belonging to upper middle and elite classes who corner all these benefits, of course not at the cost of others. Hence there is a need to create awareness about these opportunities among students from rural areas and weaker sections of the society so that the dream of ‘education for all’ and ‘education for life’ can be realised.

It is not just Bhatt, but many like him who are feeling the pinch. Rakesh Yadav (name changed), pursuing a dual degree in B Tech and M Tech from IIT Madras, has taken Rs 10 lakh loan from a nationalised bank. “The increasing institutional fees force students to take loans, which put extra pressure on them to secure high-paying jobs,” he said.

“I want to pursue PhD, but I know it will be easier said than done. Students are forced to plan their careers so that they work for three/five years to repay their existing loans before applying for more to pursue higher education. It is discouraging for students hailing from lower income families to apply for higher studies within India or abroad after completion of their current courses,” Yadav pointed out.

According to Farooque Shahab, chief general manager, SBI local head office (Bengaluru), education loan is an instrument that facilitates each student, whether of modest or large means, to aspire for and realise their dreams. “SBI has always supported students by providing educational loans which can be availed from any SBI branch across India,” he added.

Shahab will be one of the panellists at the discussion on “Education Loans –– Scholarships: Avenues & Procedures”, to be held at the upcoming TOI Mission Admission higher education expo at Gayatri Vihar, Palace Road, on May 5-6.


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