Archive for the ‘Scholarships and Loans’ Category

Loans: A lifeline for pursuing tertiary education

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
The PTPTN loan will allow students to fully or partly pay their tuition fees, as well as cover the cost of living throughout their studies. - NSTP/File pic
The PTPTN loan will allow students to fully or partly pay their tuition fees, as well as cover the cost of living throughout their studies. – NSTP/File pic

Higher education comes at a cost which may 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 expenditure.

But for those who are really out of luck, they must find other ways to pursue their tertiary education dream, and among the best methods is to apply for education loans.

Muhammad Danial Nor Azman, 23, who is studying for a Bachelor of English Language and Literature at International Islamic University Malaysia, has applied for a loan from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation, a government entity otherwise known as PTPTN.

“I was initially hoping to get a scholarship but my first semester results fell short of requirements. So, I decided to apply for a PTPTN loan because of its exemption policy,” he said.

Muhammad Danial Nor AzmanMuhammad Danial Nor Azman

Open to all Malaysians pursuing higher studies at public (IPTA) and private (IPTS) higher-learning institutions in the country, PTPTN loans are meant to help students pursue their diploma or degree in programmes that have been accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).

The PTPTN loan will allow students to fully or partly pay their tuition fees, as well as cover the cost of living throughout their studies.

While financing charges or “Ujrah” is set at a very low one per cent only, loan repayments can be exempted for borrowers from the B40 and M40 income group who obtain a first-class honours degree. And this is what Danial is aiming for as he rated himself as “slightly above average”.

“I believe I have a fair chance of getting the exemption if I put in the effort,” said the final-year student. PTPTN provides loans in three categories according to the borrower’s household income — a maximum level if the student or student guardian is listed as a recipient of Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH); 75 per cent of the maximum level if family income does not exceed RM8,000; and, 50 per cent of the maximum level if family income is more than RM8,000.

Once approved, the loans will be partially disbursed every semester and borrowers need to maintain a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 to avoid suspension.

Monthly repayments start a year after the borrower completes his studies. The repayment period depends on how much is borrowed.

Amira Asyidah Aminy Mohd BadarAmira Asyidah Aminy Mohd Badar

On the other hand, Amira Asyidah Aminy Mohd Badar, 26, had opted to take up a Mara education loan when she was pursuing a degree in business information technology with accounting at Kolej Universiti PolyTech Mara Kuala Lumpur a few years back.

The loan, under Mara’s Tertiary Education Loan Programme (TESP), is for local diploma or first-degree studies in the field and institution designated by Mara.

“What made me decide to take up the loan was that borrowers can also get a repayment discount if they fulfilled certain criteria throughout their studies,” she said.

It was relatively easy for Amira when she submitted her application online, and the loan of RM85,000 was approved for the three-year study that included registration fee, study fee, hostel fee, monthly allowance, laptop purchase and stationery.

“When I graduated in July 2016, I was advised to apply for a loan discount based on my results, which significantly reduced the amount. And I have been servicing the loan for four years now,” said the financial administrative assistant.

To be eligible for the study loan, applicants must be a Bumiputera, and it will be considered only for applicants with a minimum of one year study remaining and their socio-economic status.

A bank loan is another avenue to finance studies. One bank offering such loans is Affin Islamic Bank through its Affin Education Financing-i.

The loan is for students pursuing their foundation/certificate, pre-university (eg. A Level), diploma, degree, post-graduate (Masters and PhD) and professional courses on a full- or part-time basis at 65 panel universities and colleges nationwide.

Nazlee KhalifahNazlee Khalifah

According to Affin Islamic chief executive officer Nazlee Khalifah, the syariah-compliant scheme enables students to receive up to RM400,000 financing with a maximum tenure of 15 years at a financing base rate of four per cent.

“It covers up to 90 per cent of the total course fees, and payment to universities will be made on semester-by-semester basis. Parents, spouse or siblings aged 21 and above are required to jointly apply with the student as joint applicants,” he said.

Nazlee said students/parents were required to pay the profit charged (progressive profit) during the study period. Any default is subject to compensation charges.

“The full monthly instalment will only start upon completion of the study period. However, for any dropout or termination, the full monthly instalments will commence with immediate effect upon notification by the universities,” he said.

Other alternative funding can be sourced from savings in the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and zakat scheme for Muslims.

Parents who are EPF contributors can consider withdrawing savings from Account 2 to help finance their children’s education at approved institutions locally and abroad.

Eligible courses include diplomas, advance diplomas, degrees, postgraduate degrees and professional qualifications.

The Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) and religious authorities of other states offer higher education zakat schemes for low-income families or those with special needs, where the aid is used to supplement their funding from other organisations.

Before starting a course, students have to do a lot of research to find the needed resources and ensure they graduate. And once a loan is approved, they have to ensure that they can afford to make repayments.

As Danial puts it, when asked whether he will recommend other students to take up a PTPTN loan: “I guess it depends. Are they willing to pay back their loans? Do they understand the consequences of not paying back?

“It’s different when you are exempted from paying back. You worked hard and earned that privilege.

“When you agree to take up a loan, it is your obligation to pay back. My advice to students is simple: even if you are smart enough to turn the loan into a scholarship, you need to be willing to pay back whatever the outcome is.”

For more information on PPTN loans, visit while for Mara education loans, visit

More details on Affin Education Financing-i can be found at… .

To learn about the EPF Education Scheme, visit

By Rozana San.

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Respite for PTPTN borrowers

Sunday, March 29th, 2020
BURDEN EASED: The deferment until Sept is automatic for all PTPTN borrowers.

TO cushion the impact of the movement control order (MCO), the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) is deferring loan repayments until Sept 30 this year.

Initially a three-month deferment, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced

on Monday that it would be extended to six months to help borrowers cope in light of Covid-19. The move will involve a collection amounting to RM750mil, benefiting almost 1.5 million PTPTN borrowers.

Here’s what you should know about the deferment which is automatically granted to all borrowers effective March 19:

> Borrowers are exempted from legal enforcement and action throughout the deferral period.

> Those who wish to continue repaying can do so via internet banking; no need to fill any forms.

> Only borrowers who pay through salary deduction and direct debit are required to apply at to continue their repayment through these two channels.

> No new application for repayment through salary deduction and direct debit is required once the deferral period is over; deductions will resume as normal.

> Borrowers who have been repaying through the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) are required to consult with the agency on the matter.

> Borrowers who repaid their loans through salary deductions for March will not receive a refund as salary deductions and direct debit deferrals will be enforced starting April, except for borrowers who agree to continue their deductions.

> Employers who help to pay off their workers’ outstanding loans won’t have to reimburse their employees for their March repayments. Employers must credit the deduction amount directly to PTPTN.

> Repayment period for all borrowers without arrears prior to the deferment announcement will be extended through the restructuring of loans.

> Borrowers with arrears before the announcement was made must consult with PTPTN to restructure their loans.

> For conventional borrowers, loan restructuring will be implemented through the exchange of Ujrah.

> All loan restructuring applications can only be done after the deferral period.

> Borrowers’ Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) record will remain the same as before, except for those who continue repaying during this six-month period. Their CCRIS records will be updated.

> Loan restructuring will not affect borrowers’ CCRIS records as long as they don’t have prior arrears.

> Borrowers will only receive a notification notice via the email address registered with PTPTN, and not a new agreement for the extension in the repayment period.

> Borrowers who want to update their email addresses can do so at

> Administrative cost/ujrah will be charged throughout the deferral period.

> Decisions on the deferral in repayment will be reviewed periodically.

> PTPTN will operate within a limited capacity during the MCO.

> Headquarters and all PTPTN branches are closed, as well as its careline number (03-21933000), starting March 26.

> Customers can communicate with PTPTN during the MCO by contacting the officers listed in; or by submitting their questions at Feedback will be provided within seven working days.

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Deferment of six-month PTPTN loan repayment automatic for those without arrears

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

PETALING JAYA: The government’s move to extend the deferment of PTPTN loans by six months will automatically extend the repayment period for all borrowers by the same length.

This will be done through the restructuring of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans and is exclusive to borrowers without arrears prior to the deferment.

“Borrowers with arrears prior to the announcement of the six-month deferral are required to consult with PTPTN to restructure their loans.

“For conventional borrowers, loan restructuring will be implemented through the exchange of Ujrah,” the corporation issued in its FAQ.

Ujrah is a flat-rate service charge of 1% annually based on syariah principles.

On March 18, the government announced a three-month deferment of PTPTN loans due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, on Monday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the three-month deferment would be extended to six months until Sept 30.

This move will involve collection amounting to RM750mil, benefiting almost 1.5 million PTPTN borrowers.

The corporation said borrowers who had been repaying through the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) are required to consult with the agency on the matter of deferment.


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Parents must plan for their children’s education early

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Ahmad Dazuki

START saving for your children now so that they won’t need a study loan. Malaysians must be more proactive and the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), said its chief executive Ahmad Dasuki Abdul Majid, is on a mission to drive the mindset change.

Borrowing, he said, is an expense that involves costs, while saving is an investment that brings dividends.

“Public perception is that PTPTN’s role is only to give out loans. But that’s only part of what we do.

“Since 2004, we’ve been providing saving facilities to help parents fund their children’s education, ” he said, adding that making consistent deposits from the day the child is born, is crucial.

The 45-year-old former Penang PTPTN general manager replaced Wan Ahmad Wan Yusoff who retired in October last year.

Ahmad Dasuki, whose appointment took effect on Jan 21, is on a mission to make PTPTN synonymous with savings.

“Take the Lembaga Tabung Haji and Employees Provident Fund for example.

“People look to these bodies to help them save for the haj pilgrimage and retirement.

“Similarly, we want parents to see PTPTN as a saving fund for their children’s education, ” he said at an interview in KL on Feb 27.

Introduced 16 years ago, the corporation’s National Education Savings Scheme’s (SSPN) takaful protection, he said, could address the dropout problem in institutions of higher learning.

“With SSPN, our future graduates won’t be saddled with education loans.

“Even if they still need to borrow, at least it’ll be minimal.”

He said the SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus saving schemes let young Malaysians continue their tertiary education without being burdened by debt.

“Now under the 2020 Loyalty Reward programme, those who have deposited with SSPN-i before 2017 will get a 1% reward on savings made from Feb 5 to April 30 on top of the yearly dividend payout.”

He said PTPTN sets aside between RM3bil and RM3.5bil yearly for the benefit of some 180,000 students.

The majority of borrowers – or 55% of all borrowers – are from the low income group and they receive the maximum amount allowed.

PTPTN’s main challenge, he said, is to get borrowers who have never made a single repayment, to start doing so now on a monthly basis – even if they can only afford to pay a minimal amount.

“We’ll have to look into their finances to see why they are unable to pay even a single sen.

“Some may still be jobless but if that’s the case, it’s their responsibility to approach us.

“The borrower can even arrange for repayment until he or she reaches age 60. There’s always room for discussion, ” he said, adding that what’s important is that the borrower makes a monthly commitment to clear the loan.

Last year, PTPTN collected a repayment of RM2.26bil – exceeding its RM2bil target. Urging employers to reward workers by helping to pay off their outstanding loans, he said those who do so would get a tax deduction, regardless of whether the loan was settled in full or paid in monthly instalments, until next year.


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More borrowers repay PTPTN loans

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

PETALING JAYA: The National Higher Education Fund Corp (PTPTN) recorded an increase in loan repayment this year.

Repayment by borrowers jumped to 82.5% as at Dec 30, up from 81.3% last year.

PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan said it had set a target of collecting a repayment of RM2bil for 2019 but as at Nov 30, RM2.07bil had been successfully collected.

He revealed that of the 172,863 students who enrolled in higher education institutions through PTPTN loans as at Nov 30,46% of them were from the B40 income group.

“As for the implementation of the government’s manifesto, PTPTN has executed 75% or three out of four related items, ” he said in a statement yesterday.

He added that those included giving a discount or eliminating the debt wholly for excellent students and students from low-income families; giving tax incentives to employers who help repay their employees’ debts without deducting their salaries; and eliminating the blacklist policy on borrowers.

“The promised delay in repayment for PTPTN borrowers who earn less than RM4,000 a month is still not implemented, ” he said, “as it involves matters outside PTPTN’s jurisdiction.”

“In addition, it has huge implications on the country’s finances.

“PTPTN has taken appropriate action which includes holding negotiations with stakeholders, ” he said.

Separately, Wan Saiful said the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) gained RM151.5mil in the third quarter of this year in cumulative investment returns.

“The performance showed a 25.9% increase from the RM120.33mil for the same period in 2018.

“PTPTN expects the fourth quarter of cumulative investment profits to continue to perform excellently.

“The deposited amount for SSPN accounts as at Nov 30 is RM798mil compared to RM671.97mil in the same period last year.

“This figure represents an increase of 18.76%, bringing SSPN’s overall deposit amount to RM5.3bil, ” he said.

A total of 4.32 million SSPN accounts had been opened since its launch in 2004, Wan Saiful said.

Wan Saiful also noted the recognition accorded to the corporation throughout the year, commending his officers for carrying out their duties well.

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Save for education via SSPN

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

The SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus savings schemes with PTPTN offer tax relief.

DID you know that there is an educational savings scheme that not only offers various benefits and dividend, but also tax relief for parents to enjoy?

The syariah-compliant National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) was introduced by the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) for higher education.

Deputy Chief Executive (Policy & Operation), PTPTN, Mastura Mohd Khalid said that privileges included a maximum tax relief up to RM8,000 for savings in the SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus.

“SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus are the best educational savings plans offering tax relief for parents as depositors.

“There are many parents who have been saving for their children for several years and have been enjoying the tax relief over the years.

“Therefore, for parents who want to enjoy the tax relief this year, they have to make savings before Dec 31,” she said.

The tax relief for SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus are calculated based on the current year’s net savings amount and those eligible for tax relief include:

1. Parents and adopted parents/legal guardians who have been saving in the SSPN accounts for the benefit of their children are given tax relief up to RM8,000 a year, depending on the current year net savings amount.

2. Parents who have separate tax assessment and have opened SSPN savings accounts separately for the same child, are given a maximum tax relief up to RM8,000 each for that year.

3. Parents who have joint tax assessment and have opened SSPN savings accounts separately are given a maximum tax relief up to RM8,000 a year.

Mastura explained, however, that individuals who have been saving for their own selves would not get tax relief.

She said that the rationale of tax relief privileges is to encourage more parents to continuously opt for educational-purpose savings on a yearly basis.

‘I appeal to parents who may have missed out on this tax relief privilege in the previous years, to start saving in SSPN,’ said Mastura.

‘I appeal to parents who may have missed out on this tax relief privilege in the previous years, to start saving in SSPN,’ said Mastura.
Apart from tax relief, parents who opt for SSPN educational savings would get competitive dividend as well as comprehensive takaful protection.

“If there is death or permanent disability, their children or beneficiaries will get takaful benefit under SSPN-i and up to RM1mil under SSPN-i Plus, subject to terms and conditions.

“This proves that this savings scheme ensures that their children can study using the savings even if anything happens to their parents in the future,” she said.

Since the launch of SSPN in 2004, 4.29 million accounts have been opened for both SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus savings accounts, with total deposits worth RM5.17bil up to Oct 31, 2019, said Mastura.

The tax relief on SSPN savings was instituted since the 2007 assessment year, amounting to RM3,000 per year for depositors.

According to Mastura, the tax relief amount was increased to RM6,000 in 2013, and was raised to RM8,000 a year via Budget 2019.

PTPTN is targetting RM1bil in total savings with 500,000 new account holders this year.

“We also give out cash prizes in draws for SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus depositors,” she added.

Currently, PTPTN is offering prizes in two categories – Cabutan WOW! for SSPN-i Plus depositors and Cabutan 15 Tahun for loyal SSPN-i depositors, with prizes worth a total RM1.1mil.

“I appeal to parents who may have missed out on this tax relief privilege in the previous years, to start saving in SSPN or to increase their deposits before Dec 31 in order to be eligible for tax relief in 2019.

“Parents can open account or top up deposits via online at So don’t wait – save, save, save for the future,” Mastura said.

SSPN incentives for parents

Saturday, November 30th, 2019

Start early: PTPTN is encouraging parents to start saving for their children’s education ahead of time, to reduce dependence on its loans.

TO encourage parents to increase savings for their children’s future education, the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) is offering parents up to RM8,000 in tax relief privileges under the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN).

The tax benefit, which covers the SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus savings scheme, has been increased to RM8,000 from the previous RM6,000.

This was announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng last year during the announcement of Budget 2019.

As such, parents who opt for savings under SSPN-i Plus are eligible to receive tax relief for deposits up to RM11,000 (RM8,000 for the net savings under the SSPN-i Plus and RM3,000 in takaful contribution).

Depositors who choose the pension scheme, on the other hand, are qualified to enjoy tax relief up to RM15,000 (RM8,000 for net savings under SSPN-i Plus and RM7,000 in takaful contribution).

The objective of offering such privileges to depositors is to improve educational savings for their children among parents, thus reducing dependency on PTPTN loans.There are two categories of qualifications, including a separate assessment that gives a maximum tax relief of RM8,000 a year for both husband and wife, as well as a joint assessment that offers a maximum tax relief of RM8,000 per couple.

Depositors can be natural or adoptive parents or legal guardians who can open the accounts for the benefit of their children.

If the depositor (husband or wife) decides to submit separate tax assessments, they can open a separate account for the same child to be able to enjoy a maximum tax relief up to RM8,000 per person.

Besides that, parents can also get an additional benefit via a competitive dividend given for each year, which is considered a profitable rate.

The eligibility condition for tax relief for SSPN is calculated based on the net savings amount for the current year, with PTPTN encouraging depositors to start their savings from January to December to ensure they keep up consistent savings, without it becoming a burden.

SSPN 2019 draw

With these initiatives, the goal is to acknowledge and reward the sacrifices made by parents as depositors committed in starting a savings plan for the future education of their children.

Unlike in previous years, PTPTN will be providing two categories of prizes this year, including Cabutan WOW! SSPN-i Plus and Cabutan 15 Tahun SSPN-i.

This year, in conjunction with the 15th anniversary of SSPN-i, PTPTN has introduced Cabutan 15 Tahun to commemorate the occasion.The last time it has offered prizes to SSPN-i depositors was in 2015.

Both prize draws offer two categories, namely series draw (promotional period in three series from July to December 2019) and an annual draw, with the promotional period running from January to December 2019.

The series draw will see five depositors winning RM15,151.15 each for each promotional period, while 15 depositors will each walk away with RM3,000 under Cabutan WOW! SSPN-i Plus.

The grand prize for Cabutan 15 Tahun SSPN-i annual draw is RM151,515.15 cash, while for cabutan WOW! is Proton X70 Premium.

PTPTN has allocated RM1.1mil to reward 1,726 depositors in its prize draws.

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RM52m for study awards, aid

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The State Education and Innovation Ministry has allocated RM52 million for scholarships and financial aid next year.

Its Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob said he hoped with the granting of the scholarships and aid, more intellectuals will be born and more people are skilled in the State.

In his winding-up speech on the proposed 2020 State Budget at the State Legislative Assembly Wednesday, he said the scholarships and financial aid target 400 undergraduate diploma holders, 1,000 undergraduates, 20 undergraduate students at overseas universities and 400 B40 recipients.

“The Ministry’s focus next year, among others, is to sponsor outstanding students from SPM 7A and above and STPM CGPA 4.0 for local and overseas Public Higher Education Institutions (IPTAs) and Private Higher Learning Institutions (IPTSs).

“Those eligible will be placed in the ‘top 20 universities’ in the world,” he said.

In addition, plans are also in the pipeline to sponsor students according to industry requirements so that there will be no excess of graduates.

“Focus will be on skills and TVETs based on the industry needs. School dropouts, especially in the B40 and hardcore poor, will also be focused for sponsorship,” he said.

The Ministry will also be allocating RM19,506,930 to the Department of Human Resource Development (JPSM) for management and RM1,563,000 for development programmes next year.

“The Department will continue 15 programmes at ILTP in Papar, in addition to holding at least 14 long-medium courses, 60 short courses, three Hospitality Engagement programmes, nine Career and Carnival Hiking sessions, 10 Youth Mind Transformation Camp programmes and sending the trainees to further their studies at the University of Kuala Lumpur,” said Dr Yusof.

He said to provide the State with the latest skills and technology in industry 4.0, Sabah Skill Training Centre will run two programmes – the Bosch Mechatronics Training System and Mechanical Joint Integrity – next year.

In addition, corporate training will also be introduced by SSTC for industry 4.0 programmes in collaboration with Penang Skills Development Centre.

For the purpose of boosting human capital for the education sector, the Ministry plans to hold several career awareness programme sessions for 2020.

The target audience is Form 5 and Form 6 students. Emphasis is on the oil and gas industry sector.

Three sessions of awareness programmes for parents are also planned for next year.

Dr Yusof said based on some B40 student outreach sessions, it was found that the students did not pursue higher education because parents don’t allow their children to leave their hometown.

In addition, the Ministry also intends to collaborate with the Sabah State Education Department to set up a series of programmes to improve student performance in primary and secondary schools through lectures and career concerns.

To ensure lifelong learning initiatives, a “cream of cream” programme will be held next year.

Dr Yusof said the programme is aimed at students who have earned 7A or higher in the results of the Malaysian Certificate of Examination.

He said these students will be gathered and given exposure on appropriate courses.

In addition, scholarship fund providers or educational loans from various agencies will be invited to identify and then offered to students who wish to be sponsored.

The State Government has expressed its stance on the issue of recognising the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) for admission to IPTAs and appointments to the Sabah State Public Service subject to the conditions stipulated.

This, Dr Yusof said, is in line with the ambitions of the new government manifesto.

To ensure that educational development in Sabah is more systematic and fair in its proper course, a Ministerial Education and Innovation Advisory Panel has been established.

He said this panel is important to advise the Minister of Education and Innovation for programmes and initiatives to improve education in the state.

By: Sherell Jeffrey

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Education Ministry: 376k PTPTN borrowers have yet to make a single repayment.

Thursday, October 31st, 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: Some 375,925 borrowers of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) have never made a single repayment to the body, says the Education Ministry.

Its deputy minister Teo Nie Ching said the government had yet to decide whether to reintroduce the travel ban previously imposed on loan defaulters to boost repayment.

“A travel ban was one of the proposals given during the public consultation on (PTPTN’s) new mechanism.

“However, it has yet to be finalised by the Cabinet, whether to reintroduce the travel ban,” she said.

This was in reply to supplementary questions by Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (PH-Masjid Tanah), who asked about the possibility of reintroducing travel bans on loan defaulters, and to Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (PAS-Rantau Panjang) on the number of those who had yet to make any repayment.

Teo said PTPTN spent an average of between RM3.7bil to RM4.3bil each year to provide loans to some 180,000 new borrowers and 420,000 existing ones.

“As of Sept, this year, PTPTN has approved RM72.1bil worth of loans to 3.14 million borrowers, of which, RM36.5bil was allocated for students in the public higher education institutes and RM35.5bil for those in the private higher learning bodies.

“From the total, RM57.7bil has been dispersed to borrowers,” she said.

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Saving for a better future

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

Mastura, pictured holding up PTPTN’s red money savings container, said that PTPTN will be organising two to three outreach programmes in stages. – NORAFIFI EHSAN/The Star

THE National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) is encouraging more state governments and businesses to give the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) to newborns, in order to encourage new parents to invest in their children’s future tertiary education.

Since 2010, only four state governments and a handful of private companies have stepped forward to give monetary contributions to the education savings plans of newly born babies.

The states, including Kedah, Perak, Terengganu and Melaka, have been giving out sums between RM20 and RM500 for every newborn, according to PTPTN (policy and operation) deputy chief executive Mastura Mohd Khalid.

“I call on more state governments and corporations to join in to encourage new parents to start early savings for their children’s future studies at higher learning institutions. It is also something achievable and a good investment for the benefit of the younger generation and nation-building, ” she told StarEdu in an interview.

The gift, she added, could also be implemented as part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative by the organisations.

Moreover, as children tend to learn by example, encouraging healthy saving habits among parents can also help inculcate financial literacy and planning skills in the next generation, especially if learnt during their formative years.

The SSPN could also be the best plan to avoid dependency on a loan for higher education, Mastura advised.

There are currently 10mil potential Malaysian depositors aged between a day to 19 years, meaning that parents are able to apply for the savings scheme on their behalf.

Reaching the grassroots

On this note, PTPTN recently conducted its Jelajah SSPN programme nationwide to promote the opening of new SSPN accounts, especially among the underprivileged in the remote areas.

She shared that it was not easy for PTPTN to create awareness on the scheme in Sabah and Sarawak due to the lack of communication facility including Internet access in certain areas.

The Jelajah SSPN programme registered 11,033 new accounts and deposits amounting to RM1,786,445 during the August to September period.

Mastura said, “As at Aug 31, this year, 315,976 new accounts and deposits amounting to RM530.5mil have been collected.

“We target to get 500,000 new account holders and deposits collection of RM1bil this year. We are positive of achieving our target.”

Moreover, response from underprivileged groups has been encouraging, as a large number were previously unaware of the available SSPN packages for their children’s education.

“We opened accounts worth RM100 each for their benefit during this period, ” she said, adding that more than RM800,000 was spent for the savings of new depositors as part of their CSR initiative.

The programme has proven worthwhile as it has been an ‘eye opener’ for many in the underprivileged communities to understand the importance of such savings for their children’s education and future, she pointed out.

Focusing on impactWhile results have been positive thus far, PTPTN will be further intensifying its efforts to get closer to their target audience and create more awareness on the advantages of early SSPN savings.

Mastura revealed that PTPTN is be organising two to three programmes in stages. This is in addition to continuing its participation in various activities at schools and shopping malls, as well as partnering other parties in carnivals to attract younger parents to opt for SSPN.

Earlier this month, it held a three-day Minggu Menabung SSPN 2019 at Aeon Mall in Shah Alam from Oct 4 to 6.

She said, “For instance, we meet the parents at the shopping malls during the weekends when they go out to buy groceries and watch movies and attract them to choose SSPN, ” she said.

PTPTN also organises various contests such as drawing, colouring and puzzle solving activities, mini musicals and talent competitions, alongside introducing special appearances from popular children’s cartoon characters such as Didi and Friends to attract children and convince more parents to be depositors and invest for the future.

“For instance, to participate in the puzzle solving activities, they have to save at least RM20 and they can do regular additional deposits later, ” she added.

Under the SSPN-i scheme, the depositor has to save a minimum of RM20, while SSPN-i Plus provides six savings packages ranging from RM30 to RM500 per month. In return, depositors enjoy benefits including tax relief, takaful protection.

In urging more people to save with SSPN, Mastura noted that they could win attractive cash prizes during the second series of two prize draws, namely Cabutan 15 Tahun SSPN-i and Cabutan Wow! SSPN-i Plus.

She explained, “We introduced these prize draws to be competitive and to be at par with other financial institutions in attracting new depositors.”

PTPTN has allocated RM1.1mil to reward 1,726 depositors in its prize draws. The second series, which is for savings deposited during the promotional period between September and October this year, will see five depositors winning RM15,151.15 each for the Cabutan 15 Tahun SSPN-i and 15 depositors winning RM3,000 each under the Cabutan Wow! SSPN-i Plus.

From 2004 until end-August 2019, PTPTN registered 4.2 mil SSPN accounts with RM5bil total deposits.By M.MAGESWARI


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