Start sav­ing early

New Straits Times - - Higher ED -

HOW much do I need to save for my chil­dren’s higher ed­u­ca­tion? Will I be fi­nan­cially ready when they turn 18 and are ready to en­rol in univer­sity?

Th­ese are among the ques­tions asked by most par­ents. There are many op­tions for them to come up with the funds for their child’s ed­u­ca­tion.

Get­ting a per­sonal loan will help, and the Em­ploy­ees’ Prov­i­dent Fund al­lows with­drawals for pro­fes­sional and skill-based cour­ses ap­proved by it.

An­other op­tion is to ap­ply for a loan from the Na­tional Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Fund. On­line ap­pli­ca­tions can be done via its web­site.

Its mar­ket­ing and strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions depart­ment se­nior gen­eral man­ager Ab­dul Ghaf­far Yu­sop said that since 1997, the gov­ern­ment has as­sisted el­i­gi­ble students to ac­cess higher lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion.

De­mand for Na­tional Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Fund loans is ex­pected to con­tinue to rise es­pe­cially with the in­crease in higher ed­u­ca­tion en­rol­ment fig­ures. More­over, with the pro­jected higher in­crease in the num­ber of lo­cal students at­tend­ing pri­vate higher ed­u­ca­tion institutions which charge higher fees com­pared to pub­lic ter­tiary institutions, the yearly loan bur­den of the Na­tional Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Fund, cur­rently at RM4 bil­lion a year, will in­crease sig­nif­i­cantly.

”Stu­dent loans have be­come an im­por­tant part of the global higher ed­u­ca­tion land­scape, in tan­dem with an in­creased de­mand for ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion. Stu­dent loans in­crease ac­cess to higher ed­u­ca­tion for students from poorer back­grounds,” said Ab­dul Ghaf­far.

He urges par­ents to start sav­ing for their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion as early as one year old un­der the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Sav­ings Scheme (SSPN-i) and SSPN-i Plus.

“We en­cour­age par­ents to open an ac­count for their chil­dren with us as soon as they are born to ease the bur­den of fund­ing their ter­tiary stud­ies.”

Since its launch in 2004, 2.7 mil­lion SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus ac­counts have been opened as of De­cem­ber 2016.

The lat­ter, a value-added ver­sion of SSPN-i, is an af­ford­able sav­ings scheme with com­pre­hen­sive pro­tec­tion.

“With SSPN-i Plus, par­ents in­vest not only in ed­u­ca­tion but also re­ceive com­pet­i­tive div­i­dends,” he added.

Ab­dul Ghaf­far Yu­sop

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