This post if part of the Financial Information Month 2016: Student Loan Series. During the Month of October, I will be sharing information about Caribbean Student Loans, stories from borrowers and highlighting the missed opportunities to address the current issues with Student Loan System in the Eastern Caribbean.
Today I am sharing Tasha’s answers to questions about her experience with her Caribbean Student Loan from the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis that she submitted via the Share Your Story Form. She completed lives and works in the United states and is a graduated of the University of Houston Downtown Campus. Here is Tasha’s Caribbean Student Loan Story.
Question 1: What best describes your experience with having a Caribbean Student Loan?
It has been a nightmare.
Question 2: When you first took out your student loan, what was your understanding of what you signed up for?
I understood that I borrowed a sum of money that I would have to pay back plus interest after completing my studies. However I expect clear upfront information, proper account management with accurate documentation of loan activities.
Question 3: Was it clear to you what the interest rate was, the amortization method used, how interest would accrue while you were in school & during the repayment period?
The interest rate was stated as 9% there was no other mention of how it would be calculated.
Question 4: Aside from the bond or promissory note you signed agreeing to the terms and conditions of the student loan, did you receive any additional correspondence of how to navigate your student loan
Question 5: Were you the first in your immediate family/ household to go to college and take out a Caribbean Student Loan?
Question 6: Did anyone in your family have a student loan who could provide guidance and tips to help you navigate your own student loan?
Question 7: Share your experience navigating your student loan? What information was provide to help you understand your loan? Describe your experience communicating with your lender, and the customer service you received.
No information was provided to aid in understanding the loan. There has been lack of information, unexplained discrepancies, unreturned phone calls and unanswered emails.
Question 8: Since having your student loan, how easy or difficult has it been to request disbursements, payment status or account balance information from your lender?
It took years to get statements [and] pretty [much] any account information.
Question 9: What have you found the most effective way to communicate with your lender?
Question 10: Is there any aspect of your student loan that you are still unclear of today (e.g. how payments are applied to your balances, how many payments you have left of how to pay off your loan faster, how to get your loan out of default, how to resolve an ongoing dispute)?
All of it.
Question 11: Have you had any disputes with you lender related account transactions, outstanding principal or interest balances, fees or payments not applied as you expected?
Question 12: Have you faced the situation of not being in a position to pay your required monthly payment? If so, did you request temporary relief from payment and was there clear information about how to seek out and be approved this relief?
Question 13: What did you wish you had known about Caribbean student loans before you took one out?
[Wish] I had better borrowing options . I would have never considered borrowing from a Caribbean bank.
Question 14: What advice would you give to someone who is considering taking out a Caribbean student loan?
Seek other options first
Question 15: Share any other thoughts you have about Caribbean student loans or your lender.
They need to do a lot better
Thank you Tasha for sharing your story!
What has your experience been with your student loan? I would love to feature your story. Your can submit your story all throughout out the Month of October 2016. Just click the below to join the regional and diasporic conversation!
Submit Your Story