YEREVAN, February 6. / ARKA /. The Armenian government and 14 Armenian commercial banks announced the start of a program designed to provide subsidized student loans. Education and science minister Armen Ashotyan told reporters the program is extremely important from the social point of view.
"This program, started at the initiative of the government and the Union of Banks of Armenia, makes student loans much more affordable, giving students an opportunity to get higher education, as well as significantly reducing the barriers to higher education,’ the minister said.
The minister recalled that the government already pays 50-100% of tuition fees for children from poor families which are included in Paros social support program.
"We believe that through a combination of measures, students with high academic achievements will not have problems in getting higher education with the support of the government and available loans and then will find jobs at local labor market to pay back the loan,’ he said.
The chairman of the Union of Banks of Armenia, Ashot Osipyan, said a unified standard was developed together with the ministry to provide student loans. Osipyan said student loans are repayable in ten years with a maximum four-year grace period. Repayment of the loan begins after graduation.
He said the list of 14 banks will be available on the website of the Union of Banks of Armenia on February 7. Student loans will be issued under the surety of students’ parents majoring at both state-owned and private universities. The loans will be issued in Armenian drams. The interests may be paid off during the tuition period. The maximum amount of a loan is 1.8 million drams. The loans will be provided in four tranches, each must not exceed 450 thousand drams. The loans will be issued at 12% interest rate, of which 2% will be paid by the government. -0-