Prime Minister Hon. James Marape Highlights Success of Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP)

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape commended the success of the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP), a flagship initiative introduced by his government in 2020, during an update received from Higher Education Research Science and Technology (DHERST) Minister Hon. Don Polye and Secretary Fr. Jan Czuba on Thursday, January 4, 2024.

As of December 31, 2023, over 35,000 students have benefitted from HELP, with a total expenditure exceeding K177 million.

The detailed report presented on Thursday revealed that a cumulative amount of K177,371,936 in student HELP loans has been disbursed from 2020 to 2023. Out of this total, 35,615 approved student loans were disbursed by December 31, 2023.

The annual breakdown is as follows:

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

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

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

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


•             A total of 17,440 undergraduate students at universities have benefited from HELP from 2020-2023.

•             A total of 405 post-graduate students at universities have benefitted from HELP from 2021-2023.

•             A total of 6,477 students at teachers’ and nursing colleges have benefitted from HELP from 2020-2023.

. A total of 11, 293 students at business colleges, technical colleges, and private providers have benefited from HELP from 2020-2023.

Prime Minister Marape praised Minister Polye and Secretary Czuba for the impressive performance of the HELP programme, emphasising its success since its inception in 2020 and the increasing number of students benefiting each year.

“The HELP remains a successful programme, and with a total of 13,828 students benefitting in 2023, we anticipate continued growth with the increased new intakes for 2024,” said Prime Minister Marape.

He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring quality education is accessible to all students in an affordable manner, stating, “This Government is fully-committed to ensuring quality education is accessed by all students in an affordable manner.”

Prime Minister Marape highlighted that in 2022the programme had generated its first repayment when the first beneficiaries began repaying the loan. He emphasised that beneficiaries would not be pressured to repay the loan hastily and can opt for a life long repayment plan.

“The loan repayments will be saved in what is called the Higher Education Endowment Fund, which will generate returns and, in turn, self-sustain the programme in the long run,” he added

The Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) was initiated by the Marape Government in 2019 and officially launched in 2020. This loan scheme aims to assist students facing financial constraints in paying their tertiary institution fees. The program is administered and overseen by the Department of Higher Education Research Science and Technology. It aligns with the government’s commitment to the policy mantra of ‘leaving no child behind,’ ensuring that every child in Papua New Guinea has equal access to educational opportunities. The objective is to eliminate school fees as a barrier to education, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and providing all children with the chance to pursue their academic goals.