A total of 72,451 college or vocational-tech students are currently benefiting from the Educational Assistance Loan Program (EALP), a joint program of the Social Security System (SSS) and the National Government (NG).

The EALP was launched on April 30, 2012 with a total fund allocation of P7 Billion, P3.5 Billion of which came from the national government and the other P3.5 Billion from the SSS. Under the program, the NG portion of the fund is interest free while the SSS portion charges a six percent interest or a blended rate of three percent for the borrower-member.

Joint Circular No. 2012-1 signed by the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance, Government Service Insurance System, and SSS in September 2012 institutionalized the grant of affordable educational loans to qualified GSIS and SSS members.

“Now on its fourth year of implementation, we are happy to be part of this joint program of SSS and the national government since we are able to continue lending a hand to our members by defraying their children’s education expenses through EALP”, said Officer-In-Charge for Asset and Lending Management May Catherine Ciriaco. Majority or 97 percent of EALP beneficiaries are enrolled in degree courses.

Ciriaco clarified that SSS did not stop granting EALP. “We have allocated the loan fund to those who have applied in 2012 so that their dependents – who are expected to be in school for four years in the case of a bachelor’s degree, or two years for vocational or technical courses – have a better chance to finish their studies,” she added.

Interested SSS members could still apply for EALP but they will be included in the waiting list. “As soon as one of the beneficiaries back out of EALP, we notify those in the waiting list so they could apply”, Ciriaco said.

As of December 2014, SSS has already disbursed over P1.1 billion nationwide from its coffers out of the P7 billion allotted for the educational loans.

Under EALP, members can borrow up to P20,000 per semester or trimester for college degrees while maximum loanable amount for vocational-tech course is P10,000 per semester or trimester.

The repayment process of EALP will commence a year after the beneficiary’s graduation day or release date of the last loan. Borrowers for college degree programs are given five years to repay the loan, while for vocational-tech courses, the repayment timeline is three years.