Application for higher education loans is open today after application fees have been reduced. Higher Education Minister Dr Ibrahim Hassan said 720 places have been offered for students to study both in the Maldives and abroad.

The loan application deadline is March 3 and 417 slots have been set for new applicants while 303 slots have been reserved for current students. This application is eligible for students studying degree to doctoral degree programs.

The Minister said that the administrative fee which was previously 3% has been reduced to 1% and will be taken from the total amount of the loan. After the current government came to power, the administrative fee was reduced from 5% to 3%.

Higher education loan programs introduced in the past were aimed at students seeking higher education opportunities internationally. However, the loan program offered this time will also include masters students in the country.

“I hope this opportunity will pave the way for many Maldivian students to study for a master’s degree residing in the Maldives while proving beneficial to local institutions,” says Dr Hassan.

Previously, loans were given to undergraduate students to cover their other expenses, although last year this scheme was restricted to students pursuing certain fields. However, the current loan program includes all students pursuing a degree, regardless of the fields they have chosen. However, 40 slots have been reserved to meet other expenses for medical students studying in the Maldives.

According to the minister, the first applicants for the loan program will have the possibility to resubmit their application if any problems are detected. However, this opportunity will not be offered to students who apply within 7 days of the deadline.