Chapter 15: The political economy of Thailand’s Income Contingent and Allowance Loan (TICAL) Scheme: a personal account
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It is well known that the highly subsidized state university system in Thailand creates inefficiency and worsens inequality. A drastic change came in early 2003 when the Thai government adopted an income-contingent student loan system where qualified students are provided with state loans on a needs basis, to be paid back when the students’ future income reaches a certain threshold level. This change, which was expected to improve efficiency and reduce inequality, came about as a result of concerted efforts from a group of economists and educational practitioners who spent many years preparing the ground and convincing many groups of people in Thailand, namely the politicians, the government bureaucrats, the university people and the general public, to agree with the new system. However, a change of government through military intervention in 2006 ended this new invention known as Thailand’s Income Contingent and Allowance Loan (TICAL) Scheme. For more than a decade, the old student loan programme, the Student Loan Fund (SLF), has continued to cause problems in the administration of Thailand’s student loan programmes, until January 2017 when the new Student Loan Fund Act B.E. 2560 was enacted with provisions to bring back a true income-contingent loan system to Thailand’s higher education. The change continues.

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