KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya has decided to increase the repayment threshold for National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans from RM1,000 to RM2,000, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said this was decided during a Cabinet meeting last Friday.
“For the purpose of reducing the burden of students paying back, the Cabinet, on Nov 23, decided that a 2% wage cut, or RM40, be made as soon as the borrower’s salary reaches RM2,000.
“This cut will increase progressively to 15%, according to the borrower’s monthly wages,” she said in reply to a question by Wong Kah Woh (PH-Ipoh Timur).
Teo (PH-Kulai) also told the lower house that the same Cabinet meeting had decided that the exemption would apply to the middle 40 (M40) group as well as the bottom 40 (B40).
“For students in the top 20 (T20) group who get first-class honours, we hope that since they come from affluent families, they will continue to service their loans,” she added.
In the 2019 Budget tabled earlier this month, the government announced a scheduled repayment scheme of between 2% and 15% of the borrower’s monthly income, applicable to those earning more than RM1,000 each month.
Wong initially asked the ministry to state the number of PTPTN borrowers who had obtained a bachelor’s degree with first-class honours and who had been exempted from repaying their loans. He also asked whether the ministry was willing to extend this exemption to part-time students in recognition of their academic achievements.
To this, Teo said as of October, a total of 53,113 borrowers had been exempted from repaying their loans as they had obtained first-class honours. This involved 37,355 students from public institutions of higher learning and 15,758 students from private institutions of higher learning.
“At this juncture, PTPTN does not plan to extend this to part-time students,” she said, adding that the total amount repaid so far was RM817.75 million.
The change in policy comes on the back of a protest by about 20 students from various local universities, who marched from Universiti Malaya to the Parliament building to protest against the loan repayment schedule announced by the government in the budget.