Following the issue by the Malta Development Bank of an open call for expression of interest, Bank of Valletta has been selected to intermediate the Further Studies Made Affordable plus (“FSMA+”) scheme, a Financial Instrument implemented by the Malta Development Bank after securing EU funds from Malta’s European Social Fund Operational Programme.
Through this scheme, ESF funds will serve as a guarantee for the creation of a loan portfolio of up to €15 million which will be made available as financing to students who wish to further their studies.
The FSMA+ builds on the success of the FSMA scheme which was launched in 2019 and generated over €9 million in new study loans. The BOV Studies Plus+ supports students or professionals who want to pursue studies in Malta or abroad on a full time/part time basis or through distance learning. The BOV Studies Plus+ can help finance accommodation, living and travelling expenses in addition to the tuition fees on very favourable terms.
The benefits of BOV Studies Plus+ include a moratorium during the study period plus one year during which the student does not pay any interest, a longer repayment term, no collateral requirements and a low interest rate during the remaining term of the loan. 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 Malta Development Bank.
The agreement was signed by BOV Chief Retail Banking Officer Kenneth Farrugia and Malta Development Bank Chairman Prof Josef Bonnici in the presence of BOV Chairman Dr Gordon Cordina, the Hon. Dr Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Ministers Hon. Silvio Schembri, Minister for the Economy and Industry and Hon Dr Clifton Grima, Ministry for Education and Sport.
‘Education is a vital tool and all students should be able to access and finance their higher education as they proceed in their unique life journey,’ said the BOV Chairman. ‘Bank of Valletta is proud to have been selected by the Malta Development Bank to implement the largest fund for student financing to date, at even better rates than previous editions. The BOV Studies Plus+ is tailored to equip students with confidence in the decisions they are making to plan and pay for higher education which in turn will yield economic mobility and advancement for generations to come.’
“The Malta Development Bank’s collaboration with Bank of Valletta has already provided over €9 million during the past two years and another €15 million will be made available to students and professionals seeking to maximise their potential,’ said Prof Bonnici. ‘The strong appeal of this funding spurred us to seek more financing from the European Social Fund (ESF) that will enable students to achieve more successes in their personal and professional lives and play an important role in Malta’s post-pandemic economic recovery.’
‘This is yet another investment from European Union funds towards education and facilitating financing that will guarantee long term sustainable investments for the country,’ said Dr Zrinzo Azzopardi. ‘This multi-million-euro scheme will offer our youth and even senior students more opportunities to develop their skill-set and obtain their desired employment with the country benefitting from their additional skills and resources.’
The BOV Studies Plus+ (Further Studies Made Affordable Plus Financial Instrument) is supported by the Operational Programme II, co-funded by the European Social Fund and managed by the Malta Development Bank.