Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) is offering direct loans to students in households unable to afford education expenses amid the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement on Thursday, the state-run bank said it has set aside P1.5 billion in credit support for the soon to be launched Interim Students’ Loan for Tuitions toward Upliftment of Education for the Development of the Youth, or the I-Study lending program.

Landbank president and chief executive Cecilia Borromeo said I-Study would allow parents as well as guardians or benefactors of enrollees for school year 2020-2021 to avail of as much as P300,000 in loan.

“Through the I-Study lending program, we hope to help students finish their studies despite the difficulties they are facing” amid the pandemic, Borromeo said.

This new direct loan program would be “open to parents and guardians/benefactors of incoming students who are qualified under the admission and retention requirements of an academic institution recognized or accredited by the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, or the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority,” Landbank said.

“Parents and guardians can borrow the amount of tuition equivalent to one school year or two semesters, or up to P150,000 per student, but not more than P300,000 per eligible borrower,” it said.

It said the lending program has an “affordable fixed interest rate of 5 percent per annum for short-term loans for preschool, primary and secondary students payable within one year. The same interest applies on term loans for tertiary students, payable up to a maximum of three years, inclusive of one-year grace period on the principal.”

Landbank said qualified parents, guardians and benefactors should have an established repayment capacity, credit history and good credit standing.

For students to qualify, they should not be a current beneficiary of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017 or any scholarship program or privilege granted to honor students. They should also be of good moral character as certified by the school, it said.

The new lending program is on top of Landbank’s lending program to private schools, the “study now, pay later’’ programs.

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