FSMA+: 430 students continue their studies through €15m financing from MDB Schemes​

The Malta Development Bank’s student loan schemes, the FSMA and its successor the FSMA+, have been a veritable success among young people and senior alumni with some 430 students accessing in excess of €15 million to continue with their education.

Access to such soft loans has allowed Maltese students to take up courses not only in traditional fields but also in innovative ones, such as sports management, health management and data intelligence, educational inclusivity, environmental economics and climate change as well as advanced courses in special education.

The Further Studies Made Affordable plus (FSMA+) scheme is a financial instrument implemented by the MDB through EU funds from Malta’s European Social Fund Operational Programme. It helps students access highly favourable financial terms to cover expenses related to tuition fees, as well as accommodation, living and travelling expenses when such courses are followed abroad.

The scheme, which is intermediated by Bank of Valletta through the BOV Studies Plus+, had originally been launched in 2019. The first scheme generated over €9 million in new study loans. With the available funds being quickly taken up, a second, larger scheme was set up which made available an additional loan portfolio of up to €15 million.

Besides offering a significantly reduced interest rate, the scheme offers a moratorium on both capital repayments and interest for the period of study plus 12 months. Hence, the student is not required to make any payments during the period of study and will also have an additional year to seek employment.

No additional fees and processing fees are charged and no collateral, life insurance and up-front contribution are requested. It is a scheme designed to fit the requirements of students at a stage in life where they lack financial resources and require peace of mind during their studies, without the anxiety of having to cope with loan repayments. The interest on the loan during the moratorium period is fully subsidised thanks to EU funds made available by the Managing Authority through its implementing partner the MDB.

The FSMA scheme was recently identified as one of the three best case studies of blended schemes in the EU by Fi-Compass, a platform for advisory services on financial instruments under EU shared management.

Prof Josef Bonnici, Chairman of the MDB, welcomed this update: “It is very positive to see hundreds of students taking up this scheme to continue with their studies corresponding to their desired career path. It is also very encouraging to note that many are opting to take up fields of study which reflect the emerging economic trends, thereby contributing to enhance the human resource base which is necessary for the country to grasp the opportunities of the new digital and green economy”.

MDB CEO, Mr. Paul V. Azzopardi added: “Although local educational institutions offer an increasingly varied array of study choices, students seeking specialisations in innovative niches often need to travel abroad for their studies. This entails a significant economic outlay. With this scheme anyone can follow studies irrespective of family resources. We are very proud to assist in students’ career development through this advantageous scheme and we encourage more students to contact us, or Bank of Valletta, to discover more about this opportunity”.

FSMA+: 430 student ikomplu jistudjaw b’finanzjament ta’ €15m mill-iskemi tal-MDB

L-iskemi ta’ self tal-istudenti tal-Bank Malti għall-Iżvilupp, l-FSMA u s-suċċessur tagħha l-FSMA+, komplew jikkonfermaw is-suċċess tagħhom maż-żgħażagħ u studenti ta’ età akbar hekk kif aktar minn 430 student kisbu ‘l fuq minn €15-il miljun biex ikomplu bl-edukazzjoni tagħhom.

L-aċċess għal dan is-self ippermetta lill-istudenti li jagħżlu korsijiet mhux biss f’oqsma tradizzjonali iżda wkoll f’oħrajn innovattivi, bħall-amministrazzjoni sportiva, amministrazzjoni fil-qasam tas-saħħa, data intelligence, inklussività fl-edukazzjoni, ekonomija ambjentali u bidla tal-klima kif ukoll korsijiet avvanzati fl-edukazzjoni speċjali.

L-iskema Further Studies Made Affordable plus (FSMA+) hija strument finanzjarju implimentat mill-MDB permezz ta’ fondi Ewropej mill-Programm Operattiv ta’ Malta tal-Fond Soċjali Ewropew. Din tgħin lill-istudenti jaċċessaw kundizzjonijiet finanzjarji mill-aktar favorevoli biex ikopru spejjeż marbuta ma’ miżati tal-korsijiet kif ukoll akkomodazzjoni u spejjeż tal-għajxien u l-ivvjaġġar meta dawn il-korsijiet jiġu segwiti barra minn Malta.

Din l-iskema, li hija intermedjata mill-Bank of Valletta permezz tal-BOV Studies Plus+, kienet tnediet oriġinarjament fl-2019. L-ewwel skema ġġenerat aktar minn €9 miljun f’self għall-istudju. Wara li dawn il-fondi tttieħdu malajr, tnediet skema oħra, u akbar, b’portafoll addizzjonali li jlaħħaq il-€15-il miljun.

Barra rati tal-imgħax orħos, l-iskema toffri moratorju kemm fuq il-ħlas lura tal-kapital kif ukoll fuq l-imgħax għall-perjodu tal-istudju u tnax-il xahar wara. Għalhekk, l-istudent ma jkunx meħtieġ jagħmel ebda ħlas matul il-perjodu tal-istudju u jkollu sena ċans wara jsib impjieg.

Barra minn hekk ma jintalbu ebda spejjeż addizzjonali jew ta’ ipproċessar, ebda garanziji, u ebda assigurazzjoni fuq il-ħajja jew ħlas bil-quddiem. Hija skema maħduma b’tali mod li tilħaq il-bżonnijiet ta’ studenti f’fażi fil-ħajja fejn ir-riżorsi finanzjarji tagħhom ikunu skarsi u jeħtieġu serħan tal-moħħ waqt l-istudji tagħhom mingħajr ansjetà li jridu jħallsu lura s-self. L-imgħax fuq is-self matul il-perjodu tal-moratorju huwa kompletament sussidjat grazzi għall-fondi tal-UE mqiegħda għad-dispożizzjoni mill-Awtorità Maniġerjali permezz tal-imsieħeb implimentattiv l-MDB.

Riċenti, l-Fi-Compass, li hija pjattaforma Ewropea li tipprovdi servizzi ta’ konsulenza dwar strumenti finanzjarji taħt ġestjoni konġunta mal-UE, identifikat l-iskema FSMA bħala waħda mill-aqwa tliet każijiet ta’ studju fl-UE.

Prof Josef Bonnici, Chairman tal-MDB esprima sodisfazzjon għal dan l-aġġornament: “Huwa pożittiv ħafna li mijiet ta’ studenti qed jieħdu din l-iskema biex ikomplu jistudjaw fid-direzzjoni li jixtiequ għall-karriera tagħhom. Jagħmlilna kuraġġ ukoll il-fatt li bosta studenti qed jagħżlu oqsma ta’ studju li jirriflettu x-xejriet ekonomiċi emerġenti, biex b’hekk inkomplu nsaħħu l-bażi tar-riżorsi umani meħtieġa biex pajjiżna jaħtaf l-opportunitajiet tal-ekonomja diġitali u ħadra.

Il-Kap Eżekuttiv tal-MDB, is-Sur Paul V. Azzopardi żied: “Għalkemm l-istituzzjonijiet edukattvi lokali joffru firxa dejjem aktar varjata ta’ għażliet ta’ studju, studenti li jkunu jixtiequ jispeċjalizzaw f’setturi innovattivi ħafna drabi jkollhom imorru jistudjaw barra. Dan ifisser investiment finanzjarju konsiderevoli. Ninsabu kburin li qed ngħinu lill-istudenti, irrispettivament mir-risorsi familjari taghhom, fl-iżvilupp tal-karriera tagħhom permezz ta’ din l-iskema vantaġġjuża u nħeġġu lil aktar studenti biex jagħmlu kuntatt magħna jew mal-Bank of Valletta biex jiskopru aktar dwar din l-opportunità”.

8 ta’ Frar 2023

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