Applying for an education loan? This academic year on, you have to do it online. For, the Centre has mandated banks to offer education loans only through the Vidya Lakshmi portal from February 1, 2018. This portal that falls under the Finance Ministry is maintained by NSDL (National Securities Depository Limited) e-Governance infrastructure.

Loan process

Vidya Lakshmi portal acts as a single platform for students seeking loan to study in India or abroad. Students can register and apply for loans from three banks of their choice. The portal provides detailed information of the schemes available with banks (registered with Vidya Lakshmi) and students can compare and select banks based on the rate of interest offered, location of the bank and banking convenience.

According to Gagan Rai, managing director and CEO of NSDL e-Governance, “We wanted to give students the choice to apply to multiple banks. So even if he/she doesn’t meet one bank’s criteria, the other two banks may still offer the loan.”

Gagan Rai says, “So far 40 banks (both private and public) have registered with us. Each of the banks provides the loan application status and we consolidate the data and apprise the government.”

To apply for a loan, the student has to first register and fill the Common Educational Loan Application Form (CELAF). Post the selection of banks, the student can apply and upload the necessary documents. Students can check the status of their loan application through the Vidya Lakshmi portal. Gagan Rai says “Once the application is submitted, the respective bank downloads the application and uploads the loan processing status.”

The portal also provides link to search and apply for scholarships (in India).

For any query or assistance while applying or in the case of any technical difficulties, NSDL e-Governance has a hotline number which can be contacted. But in the case of any queries or grievances related to education loans, students can e-mail banks directly.

While the application process and processing of loan applications are digitised, the signing of loan documents has to be done physically at the bank.