Commercial Bank of Ceylon plc

11/10/2023 | Press release | Archived content

ComBank partners OUSL to offer loans up to Rs 10 mn. for Essex University degree programmes

Higher education loans of up to Rs 10 million are now available from the Commercial Bank of Ceylon to undergraduates of the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) enrolling for Bachelor's or Master's degrees from the University of Essex, UK.

A Memorandum of Understanding signed by the OUSL with the country's benchmark private sector bank paves the way for the latter to provide up to double the standard higher education loan facility at a concessionary rate of interest to second- and third-year undergraduates, exclusively to continue their degree studies at Essex University.

The Bank said these loans would carry a special interest rate, and an extended grace period for the duration of study at the university.

This unique partnership between the OUSL and Commercial Bank is a milestone in the higher education system in Sri Lanka and widens the scope of the study field, further opens up the prospects for overseas studies and enhances the quality of education, benefitting the students and improving the overall education system in Sri Lanka, the Bank said.

Commercial Bank has also introduced a special loan scheme for students who wish to follow the degree programmes offered by the OUSL under this MOU signed by the Bank's Chief Operating Officer Mr S. Prabagar and Deputy General Manager - Personal Banking Mr Delakshan Hettiarachchi. The signatories from the OUSL were the Vice Chancellor Prof. P.M.C. Thilakerathne and the Registrar Mrs Vindya Jayasena. At the time of signing the agreement, a web page for education loans was also launched by the Vice Chancellor.

Commercial Bank is a consistent supporter of the higher education aspirations of young Sri Lankans and spends more than 75% of the funds allocated to the Bank's Corporate Social Responsibility Trust on enhancing computer literacy and expanding digital education. The Bank has donated 298 IT labs to date under its flagship community initiative to take digital literacy to even the most rural towns in the country. It was also a key partner in the national Smart Schools initiative where 165 schools were equipped with digital learning facilities. The Bank's 'Sipnena' online portal contains digitized school curriculum content, complete with practical videos and presentations to facilitate easy learning for students.

Sri Lanka's first 100% carbon neutral bank and the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World, Commercial Bank operates a network of 271 branches and 957 automated machines in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is the largest lender to Sri Lanka's SME sector and is a leader in digital innovation in the country's Banking sector. The Bank's overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 20 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.

The Open University of Sri Lanka is the pioneering state university that has been offering higher education in flexible, open and distance mode learning across Sri Lanka. Through its extensive outreach capacity with the main campus at Nawala, Nugegoda and regional and study centers across the country, the OUSL has made higher education a possibility to anyone regardless of their age, location or employment status by offering certificate, bachelors, postgraduate and doctoral degree programmes to a population of over 40,000 students.

The OUSL is one of the 17 national universities enjoying the same legal, institutional, and academic status as any other national university in Sri Lanka. The degrees awarded by OUSL are treated as equivalent to degrees awarded by any other university under the purview of the University Grants Commission (UGC). The OUSL is under the direct purview of the UGC and the Ministry of Education.

Photo caption:

Commercial Bank Chief Operating Officer Mr S. Prabagar and Open University Vice Chancellor Prof. P. M. C. Thilakerathne at the signing of the MoU.