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LCQ9: Applications for deferring repayment of student loans
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    Following is a question by the Hon Yeung Sum and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (May 14):

Question:

    Regarding the Tertiary Student Finance Scheme íV Publicly-funded Programmes ("TSFS"), the Financial Assistance Scheme for Post-secondary Students ("FASP"), the Non-means Tested Loan Scheme applicable to full-time students eligible for TSFS, the Non-means Tested Loan Scheme applicable to full-time students eligible for FASP, and the Non-means Tested Loan Scheme applicable to students not covered by TSFS and FASP, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the respective numbers of loan accounts and repayment accounts in each scheme over the past five years, the total amount involved and the interest payment therein;

(b) the procedure adopted by the Student Financial Assistance Agency ("SFAA") for vetting and approving applications for deferring repayment; and

(c) the respective numbers of applications for deferring repayment received by SFAA under each scheme in the past five years on grounds of further studies, financial hardship and serious illness, as well as the respective numbers of applications approved; whether SFAA will approve applications for deferring repayment on other grounds; if so, of a breakdown, by such grounds, of the applications received and approved under each scheme in the past five years?

Reply:

Madam President,

(a) In the 2003/04 to 2007/08 academic years, the number of loan accounts and repayment accounts, the amount of loans involved and the amount of interest received under the Tertiary Student Finance Scheme íV Publicly-funded Programmes (TSFS) (Scheme 1), the Financial Assistance Scheme for Post-secondary Students (FASP) (Scheme 2), the Non-means-tested Loan Scheme (Scheme 3) applicable to full-time students eligible for TSFS, the Non-means-tested Loan Scheme (Scheme 4) applicable to full-time students eligible for FASP, and the Non-means-tested Loan Scheme (Scheme 5) applicable to students not covered by TSFS and FASP are in Table 1 (see Annex 1).

(b) & (c) The Student Financial Assistance Agency (SFAA) appreciates that individual loan borrowers may encounter difficulties in repaying their loans and has therefore put in place an effective mechanism for handling such problems. If loan borrowers are unable to repay their loans owing to financial hardship, further studies or serious illness, they may apply to SFAA for assistance with support of documentary proofs. To help loan borrowers tide over their difficulties, SFAA will, on the basis of individual merits, approve deferment of loan repayment.

    In the 2003/04 to 2007/08 academic years, the number of applications for deferment of loan repayment and cases approved under the various loan schemes are in Table 2 (see Annex 2).

Ends/Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Issued at HKT 12:47

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