The Vietnam Bank for Social Policy has sufficient funds to provide credit for poor students to pursue their studies this academic year, according to the bank's director of credit for disadvantaged students, Lo Van Duc.

During an online roundtable discussion held by the Government web portal on Oct. 15, Duc said part of the funds allocated for this programme came from a World Bank loan package for poverty reduction that was worth 2.5 trillion VND (119 million USD).

Duc's view was consolidated by the Ministry of Finance's Banking and Financial Institutions Department's deputy director, Nguyen Ngoc Anh. He said due to its importance, the programme has received close monitoring from the Party, State and Government to ensure stable funding for its implementation.

He said, if the loan cycle is five years, in total funding needed would be from 45 to 50 trillion VND (2.1 to 2.4 billion USD) in order for the programme to function properly.

Anh said his ministry has worked with relevant agencies to secure enough capital for the revolving funds, of which one-third comes from the State and the rest is raised from the market.

One concern raised during the discussion was whether the support is enough. As of now, each beneficiary was able to borrow 1 million VND per month, but according to field surveys, the monthly living expenses in big cities where most universities are situated are estimated to be 3 million VND.

Anh agreed that the loans were not enough but argued that the aim of the programme is to attract different sources apart from the State budget into funding education for poor students.

"If we increase the rate, I am afraid it would put the programme's feasibility in jeopardy. When we set the rate, we have to examine carefully the solvency of the prospective beneficiaries," he said.

He said the loan would at least enable students to cover tuition fees, while their families could cover living expenses.-VNA