More than 35,000 Students Benefit from Marape Government’s Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP)

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape announced on Friday, April 5, 2024, at the University of Technology’s 56th graduation in Lae that over 35,000 students across 58 institutions nationwide have benefited from the Marape Government’s flagship Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) since its inception in 2020. This initiative, totalling a significant investment of K178 million up until 2023, is set to further impact education accessibility with increased funding of K50 million in 2024.

Additionally, the Tertiary Education Study Assistance Scheme (TESAS) has supported more than 67,763 students in 58 institutions nationwide from 2020 to 2023, with an investment of K291 million. This year marks a milestone as 19,600 students, the highest number to date, are set to benefit from K83 million in funding.

The HELP, established by the Marape Government in 2019 and officially launched in 2020, aims to alleviate financial barriers faced by students in pursuing tertiary education. Administered by the Department of Higher Education Research Science and Technology, this programme aligns with the government’s commitment to inclusive education, ensuring equal access to educational opportunities for all Papua New Guinean children.

The breakdown of HELP allocations from 2020 to 2024 is as follows:

•         2020: K28,588,354 (5,204 students benefited)

•         2021: K27,688,365 (6,743 students benefited)

•         2022: K47,093,604 (9,840 students benefited)

•         2023: K74,001,613 (13,828 students benefited)

•         2024: K50 million (estimated 14,836 students to benefit)

Moreover, the impact of HELP extends across various educational institutions:

•         17,440 undergraduate students at universities (2020-2023)

•         405 post-graduate students at universities (2021-2023)

•         6,477 students at teachers’ and nursing colleges (2020-2023)

•         11,293 students at business colleges, technical colleges, and private providers (2020-2023)

TESAS, on the other hand, has provided financial aid as follows:

•         2019: 11,281 students awarded K70 million

•         2020: 12,162 students awarded K69 million

•         2021: 11,004 students awarded K33 million 2022: 14,856 students awarded K39 million

•         2023: 18,460 students awarded K80 million

•         2024: 19,600 students awarded K83 million

Prime Minister Marape expressed gratitude to the University of Technology for its role in shaping the nation’s future workforce. He reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting higher education, emphasising education as a fundamental right of all citizens.

“When I first visited the university as prime minister in 2020, students raised concerns about school fees. We introduced the Higher Education Loan Programme to address this,” Prime Minister Marape said.

“Since then, over K178 million has been invested, benefiting 35,615 students. Education remains a cornerstone of our nation’s development, and we will continue to invest in its future.”