Vidya Poshak - Education Loan Awareness & Advocacy Program

Vidya Poshak’s 

Education Loan Awareness and Advocacy Program (ELAAP)

Final Progress Report

Executive Summary
In September 2012, Vidya Poshak set out to create awareness about education loans within the student community in order to enable all deserving students to pursue their dream education after 12th grade.
The ELAAP project was executed in three phases. The fourth phase is an on-going activity that will continue beyond the project end date of 31st Aug 2013.

Phase One :First one was to create awareness about the IBA Model Education Loan Scheme amongst students in our area of operations. We reached out to over 10,000 students during this phase.
Phase Two :The second phase was the counselling phase to guide the students who were applying for a professional course and needed help to understand the loan scheme. We reached 1638 students seeking admission to Professional Education at 6 out of 12 centres where such admissions were taking place. 
Phase Three:This was the Support Phase in which the Vidya Poshak team provided support during the actual loan application process. ELAAP team provided guidance on the phone and through our network of trained facilitators. We also had direct intervention with banks that had refused loans on incorrect basis. Vidya Poshak collaborated with 2 major nationalised banks, State Bank of India and Canara Bank to help meritorious students get loans. We were able to support nearly 1500 students in this phase.

On-going Activity :In order to provide relevant information, an ELAAP page was created on Facebook. This is a continuing activity that will go on beyond the stated project end date. We are providing personal and telephonic assistance to needy students even after 1st September, after the project formally ended.
In addition to the 10,000 students reached in the earlier reporting period, we counselled over 3000 students in this period by phone and at the CET centres. We have identified facilitators across north Karnataka and have conducted facilitator trainings. Our facilitators continue to provide support to needy students.

Detailed Report

Detailed Activity report
Sl. No
Activity Name
Sept, Oct 2012
Initial preparation of documents.
The first two months of the project were spent in preparing the ground for launch of ELAAP. The co-ordinator prepared flyers and handbooks for students.
Nov 2012
ELAAP sessions commenced
ELAAP sessions began with one at Sirsi and in the first trip itself, we were able to reach over 600 students. This gave a tremendous boost to the confidence of the team.
Dec 2012
ELAAP Sessions conducted in more than 15 colleges
Dec 2012 saw a whirlwind tour of over 15 colleges and we addressed nearly 2500 students during this month alone.
Jan, Feb and Mar 2013
Some more colleges and areas covered with education loan awareness.
ELAAP Facebook page created
We were able to go to the farthest corners of Karnataka and conduct sessions at Gulberga, Raichur, Gangavati, Ankola etc.
An exclusive page was created in Facebook for ELAAP updates.
April 2013
Facilitator Identification and Radio program
We identified facilitators for ELAAP in all the areas where Vidya Poshak has been operational. 
We also broadcast a program on All India Radio about education loan facility and received nearly 70 calls in one day.
May 2013
Training of facilitators
We started by training facilitators at Dharwad co-ordinating office and then extended it to Gadag, Haveri and Bijapur regions. Trainings were conducted in person and in some cases by phone.
June 2013
Counselling students
12th grade students had completed the competitive exams and their results were out. VP team helped address their queries about education loan.
July 2013
Counselling at Admission Centres
Vidya Poshak setup 6 helpdesks at the admission centres to guide students getting admitted into professional courses. We helped 1638 students during this one month.
Aug 2013
Working with banks
We worked with State Bank of India and Canara Bank, two prominent banks in this region to provide help to students get education loan. We were able to get about 150 education loans in this period alone. 
Sept 2013 onwards
On-going activity
Vidya Poshak continues to provide support through emails, phone and in-person guidance about education loan to students.

 Achievements during Sept 2012 - Aug 2013.
1.       Created awareness in over 10,000 students across 15 districts in over 120 colleges directly and through the VP volunteer network. 
2.       Broadcast of Education Loan awareness program by All India Radio (AIR), Dharwad Station. This program reached the interior areas of north Karnataka.
3.       Provided counselling to 1638 students aspiring for professional education at admission centres.
4.       Provided telephonic and in-person help to over 1500 students to get education loan.
5.       Helped students to get education loan by directly interacting with Chairpersons of a few banks.
6.       Worked with two major banks, State Bank of India and Canara Bank to provide loans to over 200 students.
7.       Trained 22 facilitators across 6 districts.
ELAAP Impact
1.       More than 10,000 students became aware of the IBA Model Education Loan scheme through our awareness campaign.
2.       About 2000 students were counselled in person at Document Verification centers.
3.       More than a 1500 students were helped by Telephone, email and in-person guidance to get the education loan.
4.       The Facebook page for ELAAP has reached out to numerous students and provided guidance.
5.       Bank officials are aware of Vidya Poshak campaign and reach out to us for clarifications.
Plan for future
1.       VP intends to continue support for students by telephone , email as well as through our facilitator network.
2.       VP has also created a Facebook page that enables the students to handle some frequently asked question.
3.       The facilitator network will continue to provide guidance to students in their locality.
Challenges during the project
1.       One of the major challenges in the project was the sheer distribution of students across a large geography. We managed this challenge to a great extent by using our volunteer network
2.       Lack of awareness of education loans in the interior areas. We handled this by creating awareness through personal visits and volunteer network. In addition to that the radio programme helped reach several more students.
3.       Lack of awareness in colleges was another challenge. Quite a few colleges were not interested in providing time for our ELAAP programs in their campus. Of course, there were some that understood the significance of our program and extended great help.

Lessons learnt
1.       There is a very large population of students and parents that need help to understand features and procedures of Education Loan. Excepting a few parents in the cities, no one questions wrong or misleading information given by authorities. Continuing ELAAP for at least one possibly 2 years will create this awareness.
2.       Even some bankers are not aware of the entire scheme or have some misinformation about some parts of it.
3.       When we started to approach the colleges during Nov – Dec, we were told that most classes were over or students were already engaged in preparation of their exams. So the lesson in this was we need to approach colleges much before Nov.
4.       The infrastructure requirement is minimal for operating this. However the manpower needed is a long term investment. Training the co-ordinator/s and facilitators will payoff only if the project continues through 2nd or 3rd year.
Case Studies
1.       Interest Subsidy at regional rural bank.
KiranChougula had joined an engineering course and availed education loan. According to Central Scheme for Interest Subsidy, he was eligible for interest subsidy but the branch manager refused to process it. Our volunteer, Appasaheb, followed up with the Chairman of the bank and ensured that Kiran got the interest subsidy that he was entitled to.  This incident confirmed that Rural Regional banks also adhered to the IBA model education loan scheme.
2.       Help with interest paymentat Hegde, Kumta.
A meritorious student, Chetana Patgar, from a small town, Hegde in Uttara Kannada district, had secured admission in one of the finest engineering colleges at Mysore. She applied for education loan at Syndicate Bank in her town. The branch manager asked that interest repayment must start in the first year itself. The IBA education loan scheme provides for simple interest to be accumulated till completion of education and a year afterwards. Chetana had attended one of our sessions and knew about the features.  She called our helpline and asked for help. We wrote to the Chairman of Syndicate bank and sought clarifications on the issue faced by Chetana. When no response was forthcoming for 4-5 days, we sent a note to Deputy Governors, RBI with copy to Chairman of Syndicate bank.
Some Photos from our Counselling at admission centres for Professional Courses.

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