ITB’s Loan Scheme Sparks Criticism: Is It Education or Extortion?

Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) is under scrutiny for its installment-plus-interest tuition fee payment scheme through the online loan platform Danacita. Critics argue it’s a form of extortion, potentially trapping students in debt.

Concerns Raised by Observers:

National Coordinator of Indonesian Education Monitoring Network (JPPR), Ubaid Matraji, deems this approach a potential debt trap, leading to intimidation if students fail to pay. Matraji states, “Loans are created so that they are systemically trapped in debt and can’t pay, let alone intimidation. That’s the art of blackmail.”

Student Experiences:

An anonymous ITB student reveals the risk of being unable to complete studies due to financial constraints. Students argue that ITB’s single tuition fee (UKT) policy, combined with the loan scheme, is suffocating and hampers their educational journey.

Social Media Outcry:

Criticism intensified on social media, with students and observers condemning high-interest rates and characterizing the UKT policy as oppressive. @ITBfess account on Twitter labeled ITB’s approach as ‘suffocating’ and criticized loan schemes in education.

ITB’s Defense:

ITB’s Head of Communications and Public Relations, Naomi Haswanto, refutes accusations, stating that the system benefits students by allowing them to pay tuition fees according to their abilities. Naomi suggests that critics may not be aware of the platform’s benefits.

Student Dilemmas:

Students like Budi, facing UKT arrears reaching tens of millions, express concerns about not being able to complete their studies. Budi details financial struggles, failed relief attempts, and the necessity to resort to online loans, which he perceives as an unethical solution imposed by the educational institution.

Danacita Collaboration:

Danacita collaborates with several universities, offering funding solutions for education. While ITB defends the collaboration, students and observers argue that such loan schemes, combined with high-interest rates, are unjust and exploitative.

Root of the Problem:

ITB’s policy, deemed ‘inhumane’ by critics, forces students unable to pay to face the threat of study leave. Student representatives argue that the institution is pushing students to leave, despite substantial arrears, creating a financial burden that many families cannot bear.

In summary, ITB’s attempt to ease financial burdens through an installment-plus-interest tuition fee payment scheme has triggered backlash, with critics asserting that it places students at risk of debt and compromises their educational journey. The debate continues on whether this approach truly benefits students or acts as a financial burden and potential extortion.

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