Government-run education loan portal Vidya Lakshmi: 10 things to know

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Government-run education loan portal Vidya Lakshmi: 10 things to know

New Delhi:
Government Managed Student Loan Portal Vidya Lakshmi is a unique platform where students can benefit from information on loans offered by 34 banks. In accordance with IBA guidelines, the portal operates under the aegis of the Department of Financial Services, the Department of Higher Education and the Association of Indian Banks (IBA). Through its scholarship initiative, Vidyasaarthi, the NSDL’s e-governance compatible portal, has been able to help students in the most remote areas of the country find financial aid for their studies.

NDTV spoke with Mr. Gagan Rai, Managing Director and CEO of NSDL e-Governance, how convenient it is for students and how beneficial it has been to date.

How did Vidya Lakshmi, as a one-stop-shop platform, solve the problems of education loan applicants?
Vidya Lakshmi is a one-of-a-kind portal for students to apply for educational loans. By simply completing one common student loan application form, students can apply to 3 banks of their choice at the same time, making the student loan application process seamless, quick and hassle-free.

What have been the figures so far for the number of students who have received loans and the total loans disbursed under the program?
Since the Vidya Lakshmi portal was announced operational in August 2015, a large number of students have taken advantage of this facility. Students also continue to contact banks directly and banks have uploaded their data to the portal. So far, 4.69 lake student loan data has resided on the portal since its inception.

What difference has Vidya Lakshmi made in today’s student loan market?
Previously, the student had to travel from bank to bank to apply for a student loan. The process involved a lot of paper work. With Vidya Lakshmi, the education loan application process has gone online, which means less paperwork. The student can also send their grievances directly to the bank from which they applied for a student loan online through the portal.

What courses and institutes are loan seekers applying for and benefiting the most from loans?
Courses like engineering, medicine, and management have a high percentage of loan applicants.

Is there any easing of interest rates loan seekers go through this scheme? If not, what is the benefit of the scheme?
Interest rates vary from bank to bank and depend on the lending system. A student can opt for any plan from any bank of their choice.

What are the standards for defaulters?
The Vidya Lakshmi Portal (VLP) provides a platform where students apply for loans from their preferred bank and perform banking and disbursement of the loan. Each bank has its own set of standards for dealing with defaulters.

How long does it take to approve and sanction the loan?
As per IBA guidelines, the loan should be processed within 15 days of receipt of the completed application form with supporting documents and the sanction / rejection should be communicated to the applicant.

In terms of the number of applications received, which Indian state is ahead and which is behind?
The students who applied for student loans are mostly from Tamil Nadu. Fewer claims are registered in states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland.

What measures do you plan to increase the reach of the portal?
We are running several awareness campaigns through social media, targeting the student community and raising awareness about the Vidya Lakshmi portal. We have also created a branded video explaining the loan application process through Vidya Lakshmi in a few simple steps.

Has it benefited students in rural areas?
Thanks to Vidya Lakshmi, any student in the most remote part of the country can apply for a study loan, as the study loan application process is completely online. Accessible education was a business of NSDL eGov, so we started another project to fill the education funding gap called Vidyasaarathi. Through Vidyasaarathi, students can apply for scholarships funded by companies as part of their CSR initiative.

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