Banks must freeze payments and interest on all student loans for a three-month period, similar to the measures introduced by the retail banks for mortgages and business loans.
This is the view of Fine Gael Galway City West councillor, Clodagh Higgins, who said it was "a necessity" that the banking institutions "play their part" during the coronavirus pandemic by putting in place "measures to help everyone who is suffering financially".
Cllr Higgins has welcomed the commitment from the five retail banking institutions that there will be "flexible arrangements", including a payment break for mortgages and loans. However she said student loans must be included in this, and she has written to the banks requesting them to do so.
Cllr Higgins pointed out that many students rely on part-time roles in the retail and hospitality sectors, but with the pandemic requiring the closure of bars and cafes, etc, many such students have been made unemployed.
“Students are concerned and it is imperative a solution is found so their credit rating will not be adversely affected if they miss payments due to this pandemic," she said. "It is crucial there are no repercussions for students when they may want to get a loan or mortgage at a later stage."