Looking to apply for an education loan? This year onwards, you have to do this online through Vidya Lakshmi- a government run portal for students who seek education loans for studies in India and abroad. The website is maintained by NSDL e-Governance and operates under the guidance of the Finance Ministry, Indian Banks Association and the Department of Higher Education. The government has launched this platform to make education loans and scholarships easier for the students.
On this portal, students can research about education loan offerings by different banks, compare them and then make an informed decision. The website contains all the information about the education loan schemes of the banks that have registered with NSDL e-governance such as education loan interest rates, repayment tenure and other terms and conditions. To apply through the portal, either the student or the parents have to register on the website and fill out the Common Education Loan Application Form (CELAF). One can apply to three banks through the single form. Applications will be sent to the respective banks and after review, the banks will update the status of loan application on Vidya Lakshmi portal.
How does the Vidya Lakshmi portal benefit students?
The Vidya Lakshmi portal aims at bringing more transparency and efficiency in the education loan process. When you go out looking for student loans, you have to contact different banks and understand their loan schemes. For this, you will have to visit their website or speak with executives from these banks. Once you have collected all the details, you should compare it to choose the one that matches all your needs. This may sound easy but selecting one from a bunch of good offers is quite confusing.
Vidya Lakshmi solves this problem by providing complete details about partner banks’ education loan schemes on a single platform. You can apply to three banks using a single form. Banks would compete and try to offer you the lowest education loan interest rate. It will be easier for you to choose a bank that offers low rates combined with other terms that suit your needs. And even if one bank rejects your application for some reason, there are still two more banks.
The benefits of this portal can be summarised in these five points-
- 34 public sector and private sector banks are offering over 71 education loan schemes through the portal.
- Students can apply to three banks with a single form.
- It offers a simplified education loan process and there is less paperwork.
- The IBA has instructed that the loans should be processed within 15 days of receiving the duly filled application form.
- Any grievance related to the loan can be directly sent to the bank through the portal.
So far, about 4 Lakh legacy loan applications have been uploaded on the Vidya Lakshmi portal. Not only the urban areas, this portal has also benefited students in the remote areas as the initial application process is completely online.
All initial formalities of education loans have to be completed online but the applicants will have to visit the bank branch to furnish the documents and validate the paperwork. Once all formalities have been completed, the loan will be disbursed to the applicant or directly paid to the institution within 15 days.
Education Loan Eligibility Criteria for Students
Whether you want to take education loans for studies abroad or for studies in India through the Vidya Lakshmi portal, you must check the eligibility criteria set by the banks in which you want to apply for the loan. Given below are some common eligibility criteria that you must meet-
- The applicant should be an Indian national.
- He/she should have completed higher secondary school or its equivalent.
- He/she should have secured admission into a technical or professional course through entrance test or any other selection process or should have secured admission into any higher education course in a recognized university.
- He/she should have secured admission into a foreign college or university.
- The student’s parents/guardian should meet the income criteria set by the banks.
The maximum loan amount you can secure depends on the bank’s policies. You might also be required to pledge an asset to the bank as security in case of high loan amount.
How to Take Education Loan through Vidya Lakshmi Portal?
To apply for a loan through the Vidya Lakshmi portal, the first is to register on the website. Both students and parents can register on the portal. You can learn about education loan offerings from different banks. Once you have read about these loans, you need to shortlist any three banks with which you would like to apply for an education loan.
Now you need to fill out the Common Education Loan Application Form (CELAF) in which you can specify up to three banks to which you want to apply. After you submit this form, the banks will make offers to you. You can compare the rate of interest and other terms to find the one that matches your requirements. You can also make use of education loan EMI calculator to make an informed and well-calculated decision.
Once you have chosen a bank, you need to visit the nearest branch to complete the documentation and paperwork. Letter of admission from the college that shows the total cost of tuition, travel related documents such as visa approval, study permits in the foreign country, academic records of the student, documents showing the income of the primary borrower/s or co-signers or guarantor and other identity proofs related to the primary borrower are some of the documents required for education loan.
The loan will be disbursed within 15 days of submitting the complete application form along with documentation.
Suggested Read: 2-Minute Guide to the Education Loan Subsidy Scheme
Vidyasaarathi- The Scholarship Portal
Vidya Lakshmi is the portal for those who seek education loan and Vidyasaarathi is the portal for those who need scholarships. This is also an initiative by NSDL e-governance and is targeted at bridging the gap between meritorious students and education finance. Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) shall act as a central trust for administering scholarships under Vidyasaarathi system.
A number of companies offer scholarships to students as a part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity but they do not know how to connect with the right students. Vidyasaarathi provides them the right platform where they will be able to find the eligible students. Corporates need to set eligibility criteria such as the parent’s annual income, gender of the student, merit of the student, etc. When students come to search for scholarships, they will have to enter the details and it will show the scholarships they are eligible for. One student can apply for only one scholarship at a time. If the scholarship is awarded to the student, it will be directly credited to the student’s bank account.
These two platforms- Vidya Lakshmi and Vidyasaarathi- will go a long way in making education finance easier for students in India and make their dreams come true.