Taipei-Han Kuo-yu (???), the opposition Kuomintang's (KMT) 2020 presidential candidate, said Thursday that if he is elected president, he will allocate NT$23 billion (US$72.578 million) annually to fund low interest loans to new graduates and will allow them a longer period to begin repayment of student loans.
In an address on social media to lay out his youth policy platform, Han said that currently, the first payments on student loans become due one year after graduation, which puts pressure on graduates who are trying to find their niche in the job market.
A longer grace period will allow them more time to pursue their dreams or start a family, he said in the address, which was streamed live on social media.
With that in mind, Han said, his plan is to offer student loans at low interest rates and give students a grace period of up to 10 years, during which they will pay only the interest and nothing on the principal.
A sum of NT$23 billion will be allocated annually to fund the student loan program, which will be part of a larger Employment Stability Fund, he said, but did not give any details on how he will raise the revenue for the program.
Under the Employment Stability Fund, low interest loans will be granted to pay tuition, hold weddings, rent houses, and raise children, said Han, who is currently mayor of Kaohsiung.
On the issue of high housing prices, Han proposed utilizing vacant properties and renovating old houses to create affordable and social housing units.
He said he will also encourage elderly people living alone to rent part of their residence to young people at a relatively low cost, thus creating a mutually beneficial situation.
The policy to encourage house-sharing will be launched first in Kaohsiung in November on a trial basis and will later be expanded to the rest of the country if he wins the presidency next year, Han said.
Turning to the issue of the brain drain in Taiwan, he said he will offer incentives to retain young talent and will create more free trade zones across the country.
With the presentation of his youth policies via social media, Han was making an effort to woo young voters, who currently favor President Tsai Ing-wen (???) of the Democratic Progressive Party, the polls show.
According to a TVBS poll conducted Aug. 15 and 16, Tsai was leading among voters 20-29 and those 60 and over, while Han had the edge in the 40-59 age group.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel