Heritage Payouts Jump to US$36.8M in Jamaica

The Jamaican arm of Canada-based education savings plan (ESP) Heritage International has announced that the amount it has paid out to subscribers for tertiary education in the past year has increased by almost US$6 million.

Up to September 2017, Heritage disbursed US$36.8 million in the 21 years since it opened its doors in Jamaica. This compares to US$31 million up to 2016.

"We are very proud of these numbers, as they indicate that more Jamaican families than ever before have been using our ESP to help fund tertiary education for their children in Jamaica and abroad," said Jason Maguire, president and CEO of Heritage Education Funds International (Jamaica) Ltd.

"Year after year, HEFI continues to reach important milestones and exceed expectations. This is due in no small part to all of the Jamaican families and friends who want a better world for their children—one where their academic success isn't limited by the price tag on education, and our company is immensely proud to have represented Jamaican families for over two decades. We look forward to their continued success in years to come," he added.

The Heritage plan is a fixed-income, US dollar-denominated savings plan which has, to date, benefited over 20,000 students attending tertiary institutions in Jamaica, in the USA, Canada, UK and other parts of the world. It pays at a rate of 6.4 per cent.

HEFI agency director Kameka Clarke argued that with tuition costs for tertiary education projected to continue rising at an average of five per cent annually, tuition for a four-year degree programme could exceed US$100,000 in 10 years, depending on the programme of study and the location.

"Recent estimates in Jamaica for a four-year programme in the sciences are between US$30,000 to US$40,000. Using a conservative five per cent rate of appreciation, parents may need as much as US$90,000 for a child born this year... or as much as $370,000 for four years of study in the US. Our programme is designed to encourage parents to save as much as they can comfortably afford now to reduce the burden when the time comes," she said.

She noted that she and her team are "working to broaden the reach across the island, with active recruitment of new sales representatives and ultimately offices beyond the Corporate Area. We want to make our education savings plan available to more Jamaican families, allowing them the comfort of knowing that through proper planning and shrewd investing, funds will be there when they need it most."

HEFI's parent company has been distributing education savings plans for over 50 years. In addition to Jamaica, it has branches in the Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, and Asia.