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Further Studies Made Affordable (FSMA) Financial Instrument

The financial instrument is financed under the Operational Programme II – Investing in human capital to create more opportunities and promote the wellbeing of society – 2014 – 2020. 

Background

The FSMA Financial Instrument (FI) was established to support the development of human capital and aims at meeting the financing needs of students seeking to pursue a study programme for accredited courses in MQF levels 5, 6, 7 and 8, as well as other internationally-recognised certificates. Under this instrument, eligible students will be entitled to receive financial support, in the form of repayable assistance, for activities related to tuition fees, accommodation costs, subsistence expenses and other expenses to further their studies in Malta and abroad. 

The need for an FI was established following an ex-ante study which confirmed the existence of a market failure with respect to access to finance for students in Malta. In fact, a dedicated study has shown that:

a)    the current non-repayable grants, although on the increase, are still not meeting the current and estimated demand, resulting in several applicants not receiving the grants to continue to study;

b)    alternative forms of assistance, through private sources, are insufficient;

c)     there are a number of potential students who are not furthering their studies or requesting further funding because current available financial products are not sufficiently attractive;

d)    significant progress is still required for Malta to reach the EU2020 educational targets.

Within this context, the FSMA will seek to partially cover the investment gap resulting from this ongoing market failure and support specific segments of the Maltese educational strategy by targeting several cohorts at different MQF levels. Potential beneficiaries may be (i) applicants for grants whose application was not accepted as demand exceeded the supply, (ii) potential students who are not finding adequate financial support in the market, (iii) those who are discouraged from studying due to financial reasons, (iv) those who study in areas or levels which are currently not eligible for the assistance they require and (v) those who cannot meet the requirements of any assistance being offered to them. 

Thus, the purpose of the FI is to support eligible students by enhancing their access to bank loans. These will benefit from zero interest payment during the moratorium period. The loan will be covered with a guarantee offered through the financial instrument to a chosen financial institution for a maximum term of 15 years covering the moratorium period of up to a maximum of 5 years and the loan repayment period of up to a maximum of 10 years following the moratorium period. Eligible students will not be requested to put upfront contribution. 

The instrument is being implemented in collaboration between the Managing Authority and the Malta Development Bank with the Bank of Valletta selected to be the Financial Intermediary following an open Call for Services. 

Financial Information

Total Budget: €2,000,000 to generate a portfolio of up to €5,500,000 in loans

EU Co-Financing Rate: 80% 

Managing Authority

Planning and Priorities Coordination Division (PPCD)

Ministry for European Affairs and Equality (MEAE)

Triq il-Kukkanja,

Santa Venera, SVR 1411

+356 2200 1142/3 

Managing Authority Website 

Download

The approved and revised version of OPII, dated July 2018 - Investing in human capital to create more opportunities and promote the wellbeing of society may be found here.​​​

The executive summary of the Ex-Ante Assessment of Financial Instrument in Operational Programme II 2014-2020 financed through ESF may be found here​

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