Saturday, June 15, 2024

Loans board recovers K28m from varsity ex-students

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Students gathered at the Government complex during the opening of the
Zambia Open University residential school in Lusaka

By MTHONISWA BANDA

THE Higher Education Loans and Scholarship Board (HELSB) has recovered more than K28 million from university graduates since it began its loan recovery exercise in 2016.

The recovered amount has been since been ploughed back into more colleges as loans for college and university students’ education.

HELSB acting Communications Officer Chiselwa Kawanda said in an interview at the just-ended North-West Expo that the loan recovery exercise was on-going, having started with government-employed graduates, and would soon cascade to the private sector.

“Most of the loans that have been recovered are from those employed by the Government since we have the same accounting systems. It has not been easy recovering from the private sector because of the difficulties in tracking down those who have been employed and how much they owe the loans scheme.”

The HELSB, formerly Bursaries Committee of the Ministry of Education, has since 2016 been transformed into a loan and scholarship board with the sole aim of providing school loans to students admitted to Zambia’s higher learning institutions through a revolving fund.

The Bursaries Committee (BC) previously gave bursaries to the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Copperbelt University (CBU) students and selected scholarships to those admitted to study abroad. However, under the HELSB, these loans will be available to any needy student admitted into college.

“We have spread the loans and scholarships to Mulungushi University, Mukuba University and Kapasa Makasa University. We have also begun engaging the private sector to help us track the former students employed by them and help us recover these loans.”

Ms Kawanda said the recovery which began in September 2016 was expected to increase in its reach so that more funds were recovered, and more students placed under scholarships.

“You may be aware that the Government has continued giving us the same grants and with the increasing cost of tuition and college fees, this grant is forcing us to reduce the number of students we can give loans to.”

The HELSB has offered loans to over 3,000 students at both UNZA and CBU. The plan for scholarships and loans for each university is 2,000 students.

“Unfortunately, in our loans we do not give students meal allowances. Our loans cater for tuition, accommodation and project allowances. Our loans are also not transferable from one institution to another, implying that a student that changes colleges and universities cannot access another loan during the period the other loan is running.”

She said for students to access their loans and scholarships, they are required to have college admission letters before approaching HELSB. – Courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.

3 COMMENTS

  1. You mean ploughed back into the pockets of pf thugs to purchase 48 houses and game reserves. Squeezing dry the poor man.. my European wife became frustrated with the level of theft and corruption when she worked with local Zambian projects. At one point I remember when she narrated to me how a Zambian female cleaner was caught stealing tissue from the lavatories.

  2. The report has not told us how much total was disbursed as student loans over the same period and what percent recovery this K28million is!
    We also need to know the tax burden plus loans our employed children have to carry and how many years of debt they are expected to pay up! Overall, Student Loans is a very bad idea making our new graduates less competitive as all their focus is debt repayments! There is always a better way out! We can’t be implementing things through blind copy and paste! Just because Americans are doing it does not mean it’s the right thing for us! If anything, our friends are trying to get away from the idea as it has contributed to America’s demise!

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