With the submission of the legal education reform, doubts about the future of Icetex grew, as a proposal to reform the project had already been announced. This announcement raised suspicions that the company would end. However, the director now in charge of the issue, Mauricio Toro, told La República that the government’s plans do not include the abolition of Icetex; on the contrary, they want to invest more and more in financing postgraduate studies.
“The first thing I have to say is that at no time has Icetex itself or the national government considered terminating Icetex,” Toro explained. And he added that the main idea is to “humanize” credits so that students have better access to financing options.
To achieve this, Toro explained, it is necessary for the Icetex program to achieve “more humane loans on responsible terms” in the long term, meaning that the company wants to end the capitalization of interest, which means giving students a bonus A grace period applies to these amounts so that they do not exceed the CPI + 3 points.
“The aim is to define educational loans as social loans, a demand that the Constitutional Court has expressed several times. We also want to strengthen support for beneficiaries. Icetex must be an institution that accompanies the life projects of young people, and not a financial institution that grants loans for a loan,” explained Toro for La República.
Another goal of the project will be to ensure financial stability without charging interest on the interest. But the social component that Icetex points to would have an impact at the household level.
According to the director, Icetex currently does not receive any money from the government as it characterizes itself as a self-supporting company. However, if this education loan is implemented as a social loan, the state would have to provide assistance with fee subsidies.
“We want to ensure that the government can contribute to tariff subsidy. Today we have the highest CPI in history, we set the CPI + 3. For all this, we propose several sources of financing to be decided with the Ministry of Finance,” Toro said, adding that this plan will guarantee the financing of the program.
In this context, the reform will aim to focus on postgraduate courses. Toro explained that “as a result of the modernization of Law 30 and the structuring of free and universal education, Icetex will slowly return to its origins, which served to finance postgraduate studies in Colombia and abroad.”
Now, Toro also pointed out that many students will probably not choose to study at a public university and in these cases Icetex will be the organization that will help them finance this alternative. In this way, Icetex remains stable on both sides, because if there is no progress in free education, then it will be the program that funds the students.
The proposal of the Government of Gustavo Petro is that Icetex strengthens its portfolio of services for the award of scholarships and other economic incentives to finance postgraduate studies, professional training, immersions, internships, residencies, academic stays and cycles of in-depth research in Colombia and the United States.