JORDAN: IFC launches student loans scheme

JORDAN: IFC launches student loans scheme

More than 3,000 Jordanian students could soon benefit from student loans under a new scheme being launched by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, Omnix International and the Cairo Amman Bank. The loans will contribute to the cost of tuition at state and private universities and should help students from poorer families to get a university education, as well as boosting the country’s low participation rate.

Only 22% of student-age Jordanians are currently enrolled in higher education, a low figure for the region. Many potential students are unable to afford the costs of studying: a year’s tuition fees at one of the country’s private universities averages JD3,500 (US$4,903), while state universities usually charge JD1,000 (US$1,401) for subsidised places and JD2,300 (US$3,222) for full cost.

Under the new scheme, undergraduates will receive loans of around JD1,500 and postgraduates around JD2,000. While studying, and for six months after graduation, they will only be liable to pay the interest on their loans although these should be fully repaid within four and a half years after this.

"Jordan has a promising market for student loans based on increasing enrolment at secondary and tertiary level and the growing awareness that education greatly improves an individual’s chances in the job market," an IFC spokeswoman said. "Tuition costs are also rising and families require a reliable and affordable product to enable their children to go to university."

IFC launched a similar scheme in the West Bank and Gaza Strip last June and is now putting the final touches to a student loans scheme for Egypt. In Jordan, Cairo Amman Bank will be in charge of marketing and administering the scheme; the foundation Omnix International is providing additional support including covering a proportion of potential bad debt, while IFC helped design the scheme and brought the participants together.

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Writer: Rebecca Warden
Date: 21 September 2008

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