Higher Education Students’ Loans and Grants Board Chairperson Dr Geofrey Chipungu said Thursday that the institution has secured MK1.5billion ($3million) from government to provide loans and grants to needy students in public and private universities in Malawi in the 2015/16 academic year.
He said in the capital Lilongwe that the funds given to the board are still at the lower side compared to the number of students who have so far applied for the scheme.
“We appeal to well-meaning individuals and organizations to complement Higher Students’ Loans and Grants Fund by supporting needy students in various institutions of higher learning,” he said.
The board which was instituted under the an Act of Parliament No.2 of 2015 in a bid to provide high education loans and grants to needy students plans to disburse M1.5 billion for this fiscal year.
The board has limited funds to be distributed among all the qualifying needy students in all the public and private higher learning institutions hence the appeal for support, Chipungu said.
He however pointed out that the board will administer the process of payment and repayment of the loans and grants.
The loans and grants scheme started in 1985 with funds from the World Bank amounting to $2.8million.
Chipungu emphasized the need for students to understand clearly criteria of acquiring loans saying equal chances would be given to both public and private accredited universities with programmes such that quarter system won’t apply to disbursement of loans and grants.
According to section 24 (a) (b) of the Higher Education Students Loans and Grants Act, the student shall be eligible for loans and grants if the student is a Malawian who has been admitted to pursue an accredited higher education programme and institution, and has no financial assistance from any other source to cover the items of cost for which the application is made.
“To this effect, the board has liaised with the National Council for Higher Education on information about institutions and programmes that are accredited. Note should be take that some institutions are accredited but they have some programmes which haven’t been accredited. Thus, needy students pursuing and admitted into unaccredited programmes aren’t eligible to apply for either the loans or grants”, explains Chipungu.
The development also comes amid the board’s intentions to recover outstanding loans that were granted to former students under student’s loans schemes which were introduced in the 1985/1986 until the commencement of the Higher Educations Students’ Loans and Grants Act amounting to MK2 billion.
Some of the officials who accompanied Chipungu at the news conference included Mary Shaba, Director of education, Jessey Mbewe the Programme Manager, Funny Mthunzi, and secretary for education responsible for Higher education, Charles Msosa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :