2 MIN. DE LECTURA
BRASILIA, Feb 1 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government will speed up payments to education companies under a college loan programme known as Fies, Education Minister Aloizio Mercadante said in an interview with newspaper Valor Economico on Monday.
Last year, the government unexpectedly changed the rules governing the loan programme, slashing financing and slowing down payments to companies as part of an effort to cut costs and replenish the country's overdrawn public accounts.
The regulatory changes led to a collapse in the share prices of education companies such as Estacio Participacoes SA , GAEC Educacao SA and Kroton Educacional SA, the world's largest for-profit education firm.
Mercadante also said the number of new Fies slots this year will remain stable at around 315,000.
"In all parts of the world student loan programmes go through adjustments. That happened with the student loan programme in the United States too," Mercadante was quoted as saying.
Brazil's private education sector boomed between 2011 and 2014 as the government committed roughly 26 billion reais ($6.51 billion) to the Fies program.
$1 = 3.9958 Brazilian reais Writing by Alonso Soto; Editing by Alexander Smith