When it comes to furthering your tertiary education, many tend to opt for scholarships or even student loans to achieve their dreams. In Malaysia, the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) was setup in 1997 to help students gain monetary assistance to fund their higher education.
As of 31 December 2016, PTPTN has disbursed some RM48.5 billion to 2.6 million students (on average about 200,000 new students receive PTPTN loans annually). Out of RM18.8 billion in loans due, about 8.1 billion have not been paid . In fact, it has also been announced that full loans could no longer be provided because of the poor rate of repayment, as only RM8 billion was recovered out of RM56.4 billion released since 1997 .
"So what?" you may think. Actually, while you may have enjoyed the ability to study at a tertiary level, if you have defaulted on your PTPTN loan, you may lose out on future opportunities.
1. Listed under the Central Credit Reference Information System
Once you default on your PTPTN loan, your name will be listed under the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS), a database used by Bank Negara Malaysia's Credit Bureau which collects credit-related information on borrowers from lending institutions and furnishes the credit information collected back to these institutions. According to CCRIS, about 1.3 million PTPTN borrowers have a black mark on their credit reports as they have not paid up their installments on time or not at all.
2. Unable to obtain credit
Once your name has been listed on CCRIS, this information will be shared with other credit reporting agencies like Experian as well as financial institutions. Should you have a bad repayment track record, not only would you likely earn low credit score by the credit reporting agency, it will also impact your chances of approval for any credit or any loans for your future growth.
Potential lenders will usually review your payment history, be it from other financial institutions or even simple things such as mobile phone bills. The credit report shows a less than satisfactory track record, many may hesitate to offer you credit facilities as concern will arise on your ability to make prompt payments.
3. Unable to obtain credit
What's even more daunting is that you will also be barred from travelling overseas by the immigration. As at 31 January 2017, 586,863 borrowers have been barred by immigration from travelling overseas, renewing or obtaining a new passport, amounting to RM11.6 billion in unpaid PTPTN loans. Out of this, only 55% have come forward to negotiate with PTPTN .
Learn to be more responsible and start thinking about your future for the long-term, including those financially-related goals. If you have not paid your loan as you are finding difficult to make ends meet, it is best to come forward and speak to PTPTN to reach an amicable payment amount
Remember, good payment habits will be reflected positively in your credit scores. Do not jeopardise the future you have long-awaited for being an irresponsible paymaster.
 The Star, February 24, 2017: Why it's vital to pay back student loans
 The Star, September 24, 2017: PTPTN borrowers now blacklisted
 The Star, March 26, 2017: Talk to us, PTPTN urges defaulters