Quezon City 1st District Rep. Arjo Atayde has filed a bill that seeks to impose a moratorium on the payment of student loans in times of calamities and emergencies.
House Bill 7279 imposes a moratorium of the enforcement of payment of all fees, charges, and costs relating to student loans administered by higher education institutions (HEIs) and technical-vocational training institutions (TVIs) or by the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UNIFAST).
The Quezon City lawmaker stressed that availing of the moratorium shall not adversely affect the status of the students concerned with regard to their eligibility for re-enrollment on the succeeding semesters or terms, or their eligibility for graduation.
The bill covers all students residing in areas declared to be under a state of calamity or emergency who are enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs), private HEIs, and public and private TVIs.
“The payment of student loans imposes a burden on a student and their family; it is much worse if they fall victim to natural or man-made calamities. In the order of spending, student loans will be their least priority since spending will go mostly to basic necessities for survival,” Atayde said.
“In order to provide adequate relief and protection to our students in times of calamities and emergencies, this measure shall allow the deferral of student loan collections for a reasonable period during and after the onset of disasters,” he added.
The moratorium shall be effective for the duration of the state of calamity or emergency and for 30 days after its lifting. No penalties shall be collected on the deferred payments.
Moreover, the Quezon City lawmaker stressed that availing of the moratorium shall not adversely affect the status of the students concerned with regard to their eligibility for re-enrollment on the succeeding semetesters or terms, or their eligibility for graduation.
“The proposed legislation also does not prevent public and private HEIs from implementing more favorable forms of payment relief or assistance to their students affected by disasters, prohibiting students from voluntarily waiving the moratorium on student loan payments, or availing subsidies and assistance from the government,” Atayde added.