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NIIT offers student loan scheme

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NIIT has tied up with Citibank and IFC to launch student loan scheme. Loans offered over a period of seven-years will cover 90% of the cost towards tuition fee, PC and Internet connection for students pursuing the i-GNIIT course.

NEW DELHI: Indian computer education firm NIIT Ltd., said on Thursday that it had tied up with Citibank and International Finance Corp (IFC) for providing loans to NIIT students.

NIIT, India's largest computer education firm with interests in software development, said in a statement that Citibank with this venture would target loans worth Rs 4 billion in five years. IFC, the private sector funding arm of the World Bank, will be providing the loss coverage guarantee in case of payment defaults.

"It (loan) will be offered to students of pursuing the i-GNIIT program at NIIT. The loan program covers the cost involved towards tuition, a multimedia personal computer and Internet connection," it said. NIIT's i-GNIIT course specifically targets full-time undergraduate students enabling them to acquaint with the latest developments in Information Technology.

The loan will be for a seven-year period and will cover 90 per cent of the three-year course. During the study period, students are required to repay only 60 per cent of the interest, while the remaining interest and principal can be repaid in the next four years, the statement added.

The scheme, which is being implemented for the first time in the country, aims at making computer education commercially viable without the help of government subsidies. Higher education in India's government-run colleges is heavily subsidized and commercial banks typically offer student loans only for select institutions and overseas education.

"In the past, financial institutions have been weary of investing in educating a student as it was often viewed as the primary responsibility of the state. This apart, it was perceived as a loss-making proposition," the statement quoted Citibank's advisory board chairman Gurcharan Das, as saying.

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