Jakarta (ANTARA) - Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said that the supervisory board of the Endowment Fund for Education Agency (LPDP) is preparing low-interest education loan assistance (student loans) to help university students make single tuition fee (UKT) payments.

The scheme and student loan regulations have currently reached the review stage, she informed.

"We are currently discussing the student loan program with the LPDP supervisory board," she said at a press conference on Tuesday.

She delivered the statement in response to the issue of online loans being used for student UKT payments.

According to the minister, the student loans will target students with low economic ability to pay tuition fees. The funds will be sourced from LPDP's endowment fund.

She said that the scheme is needed because access to education must be ensured for all. Therefore, student loans will be designed to ease the burden on students.

However, she said she did not want Indonesian students to face insolvency after taking student loans, as witnessed in the United States, where such loans are burdening students.

"We have discussed this problem with banks. LPDP will later formulate the affordability of the loan. It should not burden students and provide positive affirmation to disadvantaged groups," Indrawati added.

She noted that the LPDP budget has continued to increase to reach Rp139 trillion from the initial corpus of Rp1 trillion (US$63 million). Plus, there is an additional budget of Rp150 trillion, she added.

The minister said that the LPDP program has opened many opportunities, including endowment funds for research, universities, Islamic boarding schools, and expanding other religious education.

In addition, the endowment funds can help undergraduate students with affirmation scholarships.

"Even for very urgent needs, such as the need to increase the number of specialist doctors, we will try to accommodate it," Indrawati said.

The student loan program is a part of the government's effort to prepare quality human resources, she added. Education is crucial for improving the quality of human resources in Indonesia.

"In order to achieve quality human resources, we will continue to improve various issues regarding human resources, especially in education through programs funded by the LPDP," she affirmed.

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Translator: Bayu Saputra, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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