The Social Security System (SSS) released P115.53 million in educational loans during the period January to June 2021.

The figure is up by P39.75 million from the previous year’s disbursements.

During the same period, the pension fund received over 6,500 applications for tuition aid.

“Flexible learning during the new normal entails additional expenses—specifically for our students who need to purchase or upgrade their laptop/computer/tablet as well as select a good internet plan for a more stable connection. Despite the virtual and challenging setup, SSS continuously offers the Educational Loan Assistance Program to give opportunities to our members and their beneficiaries who wanted to finish their studies,” SSS President and CEO Aurora C. Ignacio said. 

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The SSS Educational Assistance Loan Program (EALP)  has been implemented in 2012 to help member-borrowers and their covered beneficiaries defray their educational expenses for undergraduate/college degrees, as well as vocational or technical courses.

Initially, it has a total budget allocation of P7 billion, 50 percent of which came from the National Government and the remaining half from the SSS. 

Eligible borrowers are those who are below 60 years old, whose actual monthly basic income is P25,000.00 or below, and with at least 36 posted contributions, six of which are posted within the last 12 months before the month of filing their EALP application.

Payment of member’s other existing member loans should be updated to qualify for the EALP. Disqualified are those with overdue accounts with SSS.

Covered beneficiaries are the member-borrower, his/her legal spouse, his/her legitimate/illegitimate or legally adopted children, and sibling of member-borrower, if his/her civil status is single, including half-brothers/sisters. 

An eligible member-borrower is allowed only one loan beneficiary at a time, and substitution of the beneficiary is not allowed. Likewise, full scholars with zero tuition/miscellaneous fees/assessment balance are not eligible as beneficiaries.

The maximum loanable amount for a degree course is P20,000.00 per semester/trimester/quarter or net tuition/miscellaneous fees/assessment balance on a cash basis, whichever is lower. For a four-year degree program or its equivalent, the maximum number of availments is eight semesters/12 trimesters/16 quarters or P160,000.00 as full allocation. 

The maximum number of availments for a 5-year degree program or its equivalent is ten semesters/15 trimesters/20 quarters or a maximum of P200,000.00 full allocation. 

For a two-year vocational/technical course, the maximum loanable amount is P10,000.00 per semester/trimester or net tuition/miscellaneous fees/assessment balance on a cash basis, whichever is lower. The maximum number of availments is four semesters or a maximum of P40,000.00 full allocation. For a trimester program, the maximum number of availments shall be six trimesters or a maximum of P60,000.00 allocation.

“When we talk about eligible courses, these are degree courses that are recognized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), vocational/technical courses accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), aviation-related courses recognized by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and other courses offered by institutions that are duly recognized by the government,” Ignacio explained.

Qualified members may apply by submitting a duly accomplished EALP Application form, Valid Identification Card/s or Document/s, Current School’s Assessment/Billing Statement, Proof of Monthly Salary/Income of member-borrower, and Proof of Relationship to the beneficiary. For subsequent EALP applicants, they must submit an Accomplished EALP Application form, Valid Identification Card/s or Document/s, Current School’s Assessment/Billing Statement.

“EALP application may be submitted through our Drop Box System or over the counter through our Online Appointment System. However, this is to remind our transacting members that we are implementing the Number Coding Scheme wherein their transacting day will depend on the last digit of their Social Security (SS) Number,” added Ignacio. 

The EALP imposes a six percent interest rate per annum based on the diminishing principal balance until fully paid, a two percent maintenance charge of the consolidated principal loan balance (both National Government and SSS portions), and a penalty of one percent per month for any unpaid amortization.

Repayment starts on the month following the consolidation of the EAL, which is after 18 months for semestral programs, 15 months for trimestral or 14 months, and 15 days for quarter programs from the month of the last release. The payment term is up to five years for Degree Course and three years for the Vocational/Technical course while the repayment term shall be determined upon consolidation of the account. Any unpaid loan balance shall be deducted from the future SSS benefit of the member-borrower.

“We are looking forward to more members availing of EALP as this program will contribute to increasing the literacy rate of our country as more Filipinos can now afford to finish their studies and earn degrees to have a brighter future,” Ignacio concluded. 

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