ZIZ News — Recent university graduates stand to benefit from new programmes launched by the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) and the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank (SKNANB).
In a brief opening ceremony held on Friday morning, representatives from the SIDF and the bank outlined the importance of the initiatives.
The Graduate Relief Assistance Student Programme (GRASP), the Fund for the Realization of Economic Empowerment through Subsidized Housing (FREESH) and the Housing Enhancement Loan Programme (HELP) were launched at the ceremony.
GRASP, FREESH and HELP are programmes designed to assist students who intend to build a home and purchase a vehicle. Terrance Crossman, who is the CEO of the SIDF said that the three programmes are designed to enhance the lives of recent graduates.
He said, “The three programmes being launched today in partnership with National Bank have something in common, they provide easy access to residential mortgages. FREESH was designed by the SIDF in response to the demand for affordable yet quality housing and GRASP aims to place recent college graduates on an accelerated path to repaying their student loans and building a home. HELP provides assistance to home owners desirous of carrying out home renovations. A key objective of these programmes is to enhance the quality of living conditions.”
Delcia Bradley-King, Corporate Affairs Manager of the SIDF said the SIDF wishes to boost the economy through construction.
“It is a loan refinancing package, it helps you to refinance your student loan and acquire a home. We are stressing home construction, because as you’ve heard we want to stimulate the construction industry because it drives the economy so the first preference is really for you to build a home, however, if there are difficulties getting land and you really want to get that home you will be able to purchase that home,” Mrs. Bradley-King stated.
She added that the FREESH Programme was amended in response to pleas from persons who needed assistance in building a home.
“What the SIDF does is really try to respond to the needs, respond to the requests and the demands and cater to as many groups of persons as possible. When the FREESH was started in January of 2012, even before the SIDF office was established, the maximum loan amount was $400,000 and the interest rate was six percent and we amended our programme, we revised our programme and so the FREESH now targets persons who are doing brand new construction or ongoing construction. We increased the loan amount to $500,000 and carried down the interest rate to five percent.”
Under the new programmes, students will be able to acquire as up to $500,000 to refinance their student loans or purchase land, a home and a vehicle. All three application forms are available online at www. Sknsidf.org