The Student Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) has announced that more than 70,000 students will benefit from its loans for the 2022/2023 academic year.

The figure is said to represent a 100 per cent increase over the 32,744 students from 110 tertiary institutions on the loan scheme in the 2021/2022 academic year.

The big jump is attributed to the ‘No Guarantor’ policy that the SLTF has introduced as part of measures to encourage more students to access loans to support their education.

If just the student population of the three major universities in the country (University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and University of Cape Coast) add up to more than 120,000, then one can imagine how many students there are in the 110 tertiary institutions. being referred by SLTF.

That is to argue that the 70,000 students who will access the SLTF facilities constitute a fraction of the total population of tertiary institutions in the country.

But that’s not really the point; the point is that there must be certain strict criteria to follow in order to objectively select the beneficiaries.

Of course, the availability of funds and the size of the amounts are part, but what are the rest?

We ask this question because we live in a country where certain interventions are announced to the public and sweet explanations are given, but some applicants for such facilities are treated with disdain and denied access.

What is more worrying is that the “most qualified” are denied access because they have no official connections.

Due to this state of affairs, some Ghanaians don’t feel like applying for any of that because at the end of the day, the applicants lose the money used to apply for the facilities and their time is also wasted in the process.

Therefore, we would appreciate it if the SLTF would make public the criteria(s) it is following in granting your student loans.

This would help applicants to know why they got it or not and it would help clarify doubts.

The ‘No Guarantor’ policy may be an invitation for more students to apply, but “who actually

qualify for the loans?

It is high time that all types of interventions, particularly those in the education sector, are offered transparently to the actual target persons.

Objective analyzes of such interventions, including scholarships, more often than not go to the privileged in society to the detriment of the disadvantaged who must be helped out of their sorry situations.

It is our hope that the SLTF’s ‘No Guarantor’ policy is accompanied by an impartial practice that digs into the background of applicants who are deserving of loans.

We need to build a society where equity reigns and one of the ways to do this is to give all kinds of people the opportunity to have easy access to higher education.

Currently, tertiary education is expensive in the country, so the SLTF and other funding sources, such as scholarship funds or foundations, should provide support and provide equal opportunities.