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How West Bengal’s Student Credit Card scheme can help you on your way

1 March, 2022 11:16:29
How West Bengal’s Student Credit Card scheme can help you on your way

Higher education. For most of us, the passport to a better life. And yet, many students, particularly those from low-income families, often face a funds crisis as they pursue their chosen course of study. To address this crucial issue, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched the 'West Bengal Student Credit Card' to give meritorious students a chance of accessing quality education.

Launched on July 30, 2021 from Nabanna, the Student Credit Card enables pupils to take a soft loan of up to Rs 10 lakh for higher education in general, or to pursue professional degrees in engineering, medicine, or management. A batch of 22 students received their credit cards at the inaugural ceremony. After this, officials of the Purba Bardhaman district administration handed over 34 credit cards to applicants from the district through the State Cooperative Bank.

The Student Credit Card Scheme is designed to support students who want to pursue secondary, higher secondary, undergraduate and postgraduate studies. These include professional degrees and other equivalent courses in any school, madrasa, college, university or other affiliated institutes in and outside India. Students studying in various coaching institutions can also avail a loan to appear in competitive examinations such as engineering, medical, law and civil services examinations. 

This project has been steadily gaining popularity since its inception. The number of applications for medical science, nursing, BTech, Cost and Chartered Accountancy has increased noticeably. Our team has interacted with several applicants, and here’s an excerpt of our findings from different parts of the state: Shubhdeep Mandal of Uttarpara said, “Since childhood, I dreamt of studying hotel management but developed cold feet when I heard of the expenses involved in pursuing the course. I had almost given up hope but now, thanks to the newly launched student credit card, I am thinking of changing my decision.”

Saheli Saha, student at International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM), Kolkata, has availed the loan for pursuing her professional degree. She was ecstatic when she shared her views: “For a student like me from a typical middle-class family, this credit card has been a boon. I can fulfill my dream without burdening my ageing parents with financial worries. I can now confidently bear all costs required to pursue my professional degree myself.”

Applicants seeking a loan under the scheme have to be Indian nationals and residents of West Bengal for the past 10 years. Students from Class X to those up to 40 years of age are eligible to apply for the scheme. The borrowed amount can be used for both institutional as well as non-institutional expenses such as hostel fees, educational excursions, off-campus rent, course projects, etc.

Repayment period for any loan availed under this credit card is 15 years, including the moratorium/ repayment holiday. The student or a parent/ legal guardian can repay the loan amount any time before the stipulated period of repayment. There will be no penalty or processing fee in case of early repayment. The borrower will get a 1 per cent concession in interest if they fully use the interest during their study period. Aspirants have to apply online for the West Bengal Student Credit Card. The documents required to apply for a credit card are as follows:

A coloured photograph of the applicant, a coloured photograph of the co-applicant/ co-borrower

Registration certificate for Class X Board (in the absence of Aadhaar Card), co-borrower’s Aadhaar Card

Official document from the institution with course details such as course fee/tuition fee Admission receipt 

Applicant’s PAN Card or the undertaking form available on the portal (if no PAN), co-borrower’s PAN Card or the undertaking form available on the portal (if no PAN)

Income certificate. In some cases, the bank may request additional documents for verification.

Ayan Seth, a banker from Hooghly, says, “We have a sizeable number of students crowding our bank to avail the Student Credit Card. Applications are submitted mainly for management courses, and the demand seems to be growing steadily.” This overflowing demand is testimony to the fact that the government's Student Credit Card is empowering the youth to dream big and fulfill their education goals.

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