Govt should raise PTPTN loans to suit current economic condition

MY younger son is currently sitting for his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examinations. In a few months’ time, the results would be out and, if all goes well, he would probably be looking for a tertiary institution to pursue his studies.

For many parents, this would be an emotionally-mixed moment, based on my experience with my elder son, who is now doing his first year for a degree programme in a private university.

On the one hand, we are proud that our offspring have completed formal schooling and are now headed for the tertiary level.

On the other hand, many of us ponder where to source the finances to fund the studies, especially those of us in the B40 and M40 categories.

Tertiary education, especially in privately-funded ones, is not cheap. A one-year foundation course can cost over RM30,000. After that, there’s the diploma or degree proper programmes, which will cost many times more.

It is true students can opt for publicly-funded institutions but the availability is limited. As a result, many, like me, are forced to send their children to private colleges or universities.

Like many others, my elder son has received a study loan from the government’s National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN).

For this we wish to thank the government, failing which we would not have been able to afford to send him to further his studies in SEGi University in Kota Damansara.

The truth is, many parents like myself have dug deep into our savings during the pandemic and we have barely gotten back on our feet. It doesn’t help that the economy is not robust like before, with prices of necessities and utilities creeping up.

Even the PTPTN loan for my elder son is not enough to cover his expenses. But luckily, he was able to secure a bridging loan facility from the university to make up for the shortfall. Without this, we would probably have to turn to our relatives for financial help.

I consider my elder son lucky to have gotten the financial support from his university. Not many private tertiary institutions offer these.

This is why I am starting to worry about finances for my younger son when he commences tertiary education, probably in August or September this year.

In this respect, I hope the government would consider increasing the quantum of the PTPTN loan to help students cover basic needs.

Otherwise, they would be distracted from their studies, having to live on a shoestring budget or even possibly work part-time to ease the burden of their parents.

The reality is that costs of living have shot up and the government needs to take into consideration prevailing circumstances when approving PTPTN loans.

It is time the government put the money where the mouth is when it comes to our children’s future. – Feb 19, 2024


Geraldine Perreira
Petaling Jaya

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main pic credit: Kosmo

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