Student loans to become available in Azerbaijan
Student loans will now be available in Azerbaijan
University students in Azerbaijan will have an opportunity to take out loans for education. In order to be eligible for it, they must be full-time university students and not have academic debt. Such loans will not be issued to foreign students and Azerbaijani citizens studying abroad.
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The head of the press service of the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan, Jesaret Valekhov, intrigued users of social media in the country with his morning post on Facebook. “Today will mark one of the most important events in the history of education in Azerbaijan”, he wrote.
Users of the Azerbaijani segment of social networks tried to guess what kind of “important event” will happen on November 25, 2021. Some even guessed that the Russian sector in Azerbaijani schools could be closed and some joked that they might ban education in the country.
In fact, everything turned out to be expectedly trite. The Ministry of Education announced the availability of student loans.
Who can get an education loan?
To qualify for a loan, students must score a set minimum number of points in entrance exams, Deputy Education Minister Idris Isaev said at a specially convened briefing.
For bachelor students, the minimum number of points is set at 300 (out of 700), for master’s students – 50 (out of 100), and for a sub-bachelor’s degree – 110 points (out of 300).
Such students can get a loan for the first semester of study at the university. In the future, they can receive new loans, but only if they have no academic debts.
Education loans are available to full-time students at both public and private universities.
Foreign students and Azerbaijani citizens studying abroad will not be able to use the loan for education.
What is the interest rate for student loans?
Student loans will be issued for a period of 12-21 years without the requirement of collateral at different interest rates per annum for different strata of students. Thus, socially unsecured students can count on a loan at two percent per annum. For others, the level is set at six percent per annum. All loans are issued exclusively in the national currency – Azerbaijani manats.
There is also a flexible system for calculating the loan principal and interest based on the student’s academic progress.
So, if a student’s average score on exams is above 71 (the maximum score is 100), then they are exempt from paying interest for that semester.
If a student’s average grade during the entire educational process at the university is 91 points or higher, they are exempted from paying 25 percent of the principal amount on loans taken during the years of study. Also, the student is exempt from paying interest on the loan for the semester in which their grade point average is 91 or higher.
What other benefits are there for student loans?
Student loan payments may be suspended for a specified period if the lender:
- got the right to study at a higher level;
- was called up for active military service;
- was deprived of liberty (for no more than four years);
- for the period of maternity leave, caring for children under three years old, caring for children under 18 with disabilities, caring for persons with the first group of disabilities.
Social media reaction
The news about the student loan caused heated debate and a lot of questions from users of the Azerbaijani segment of social media. Here are some typical comments:
“If I want to get a second degree, then what will happen to the loan for the first one?”
“It is more important to worry about the employment of university graduates. Where will they earn money in order to pay off loan debts? It’s no secret that the vast majority of graduates cannot find a job”.
“Everything in this country is solved by loans. Nobody thinks about decent salaries. We live off loans – now starting from student years”.