The Malta Independent 17 November 2019, Sunday

Easier access to further studies with the BOV Studies Plus+

Thursday, 10 October 2019, 15:24 Last update: about 2 months ago

The BOV Studies Plus+ is a new financing solution providing a pot of €5.5m, targeted for individuals seeking further studies. This product is being offered on the market through the collaboration between Bank of Valletta, the Malta Development Bank and the EU Funds Management Authority.

Individuals who are seeking to undertake full-time, part-time or distance-learning study courses, which would provide them with a Diploma (MQF 5), Bachelors (MQF 6), Masters (MQF 7) or Doctorate (MQF 8) level qualification, or internationally recognised certificates, can apply for a loan up to a maximum of €100,000.

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"BOV is proud to be at the forefront in assisting students to further their studies with a highly attractive financial solution," said BOV chairman Deo Scerri. "This product, devised with the support and collaboration of the Malta Development Bank and the EU Funds Management Authority is aimed at students who are seeking affordable financing for pursuing their education further, from diploma level up to doctorate level. It is aimed for Maltese citizens or residents, to achieve the best suitable employment after their studies, developing their full potential.

The BOV Chief Credit Business Development officer Albert Frendo highlighted that "the objective of the package is to avoid any financial burden during the study period. The financing package comes with a maximum term of 15 years and benefits from a moratorium period of up to five years with repayments coming from students' future income. Besides the highly attractive interest rate that this package offers, the interest due during the studies period is fully covered by the European Social Fund placing no payment obligation on the student during this period of low or no income."

"BOV Studies+ is effectively eliminating the two major hindrances in accessing finance for students," continued Frendo. "The financing needs no collateral and is earmarked to be repaid in the period after the students finish their studies with the income earned from their prospective place of work. The loan is structured in the best possible manner, to ensure that the loan is affordable for the student when starting employment."

"The Malta Development Bank is once again collaborating with Bank of Valletta, this time to support students and professionals in developing their potential through further and higher education," said MDB chairman Prof. Josef Bonnici. "Loans under this programme shall cover tuition fees, accommodation costs, subsistence expenses and other expenses relating to further studies both abroad and as required in Malta."

Minister for Education Evarist Bartolo said that this intitiative was very important to further increase opportunities to people who wish to pursue their education. The Ministry considered this as a top priority and this initiative, along with other financial incentives, are part of a wider push to increase accessibility in higher education. 

Minister for Finance Prof. Edward Scicluna said that these types of initiatives encourage more people to pursue their studies and advance in their career.  The minister added that government has already introduced tax rebate schemes whereby students who successfully complete their course leading to a certification such as a diploma, degree or post-graduate degree, receive a tax credit which enables them to recover substantial part of the costs incurred. Minister Scicluna concluded that: "Such initiatives support the personal development of individuals which not only contribute to their personal growth, but also serve as a means to address the needs of various industries."

The parliamentary secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia said that students, particularly those who do not qualify for scholarships on an annual basis, will now have access to further support. "Acknowledging the need for different financial instruments, and providing them, is one step towards addressing social equality and challenges in education. Such an instrument will complement scholarships such as the EU-funded Endeavour scheme, not replace them, and will allow students to aim higher and succeed. While in the EU fora, many are pushing for financial instruments to substitute cash grants, our government firmly believes that the two should complement one another," Farrugia said, adding that this initiative will further contribute to the country's prosperity.

The BOV Studies Plus+ Financing Package is financed under the Operational Programme II - Investing in human capital to create more opportunities and promote the wellbeing of society, which is co-funded by the European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020.

For more information about this programme visit a BOV branch, send an email on [email protected] or call the bank's Customer Service Centre on 2131 2020.


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