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How to get a student loan in Sri Lanka

Are you thinking of advancing in your career? Do you need an MBA to pass the next hurdle in your job? Or do you want to follow a postgraduate diploma just for the sake of learning something new? 

No matter how skilled you are, to succeed in the Sri Lankan corporate world, you need paper qualifications. There’s no “but” in it. That’s just the way things work and if you want to climb up the ladder, might as well get some qualifications. There’s no workaround to in unless you become your own boss and start a company. 

But the problem with a degree or even an MBA is that they are super expensive. If you’re just starting out, there’s a good chance that you can’t afford something like this on your own. If this is you, what’s the second-best option you have?

You can get a student loan. If you’re thinking of getting a student loan, here’s everything you need to know about how to get a student loan in Sri Lanka. (Some companies offer financial support for their employees to pursue higher studies so contact your HR before thinking of applying for a student loan.)

What is a student loan?

It is basically a financial aid given by a bank or lending institution to finance course fees, exam charges, living expenses associated with the course of study for both local and overseas education.

Are you eligible for one?

If you are above 18 years of age and a resident of Sri Lanka, YES YOU ARE!

Even if you’re employed or self-employed or not employed at all, there’s still a way out, so let’s see how that goes. 

Employed individuals

If you are currently employed, you need to be a permanent employee of a reputed company (ideally you should’ve finished your probation period). 

Self-employed individuals

If you are self-employed, you need to have a professional qualification in the chosen field or if you run your own business, it needs to be well established. That is to have commercial operations for a considerable period, route a greater portion of the turnover through a bank and the business should have a good credit history.

Not employed yet

In case you are not employed, you still have the chance to apply jointly with a parent/guardian/spouse who is eligible as a co-borrower. That is, the joint party needs to be above 18 and fulfill the basic requirements (like having a salary that can support repayment, good credit history, good credit score) to obtain a loan.

These criteria differ from bank to bank.

How are you going to select the correct bank?

This is the next big question. There are several things to consider. 

Interest rate and repayment schedule

The first thing is the interest rate of the loan. Undoubtedly you’re going to pounce on the bank that offers the lowest interest rate, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. 

Generally, repayment of the loan includes a part of the borrowed amount + interest. But banks now offer a grace period which is a flexible method of repayment where only the interest due needs to be paid for a stated period and the repayment of the principal loan amount comes in later.


Based on the amount of the loan or if it’s local/ foreign education you’re looking at, banks sometimes require collateral. Basically collateral is when the bank owns an asset of yours until you repay the loan in full. In case you default the loan, the bank will sell the asset you gave them to recover the amount the bank loaned to you. As collateral, a bank may require a property mortgage, vehicle mortgage or even another person with good financial standing to guarantee the repayment of the loan. It is a fact that the value of the collateral you provide should always be greater than the loan amount taken.

What sort of documents do you need?

From the student;

  • A completed student loan application form
  • A letter from the education provider confirming studentship
  • Course fee schedule and course duration schedule from the education course provider
  • Copy of NIC/passport

From the salaried party;

  • Latest salary slips
  • Bank statements
  • A letter confirming one’s employment from the employer
  • Evidence of permanent residence
  • Copy of NIC/passport

If you run your own business, an income statement and bank statements of your business will be needed.

Are there any specific courses that are eligible under the student loan scheme?

Well, a diploma, degree, postgraduate course, masters, Ph.D. are all eligible.

What can be financed through this student loan?

Be it registration fees, course fees, examination fees, payments for travel and living expenses can be considered as long as it is associated with the course of study.

How much am I going to get by applying for a student loan?

This is going to depend on the nature and fees of the course undertaken, repayment ability, the value of the collateral provided and age.

But remember, banks sometimes only loan a portion of the actual payments needed and you will be expected to foot the rest.

That’s basically everything you need to know before applying for a student loan in Sri Lanka. The best thing to do is, first speak to the bank where all your bank accounts are. Then speak to a couple of other banks and compare their offers. There’s no hard and fast rule for selecting the best bank. Everything depends on your requirement. 

More than anything, find an education program that will actually help you to learn something new. There are thousands of courses that offer just that. A paper qualification. Don’t just do something for the sake of getting “paper qualified.” 

That’s it. Did you this article help you in any way? Then share this with a person who is planning to get a student loan. Do you have any follow up questions? Add a comment below and let us know. We will make sure that all your questions are answered. 

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Shavinka Motha

An ambitious one, who is aiming for the stars hoping she'll at least hit the top of a coconut tree one day. And also a foodie.

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