Higher Education Loans and Scholarships Board (HELSB) has announced that it has recovered a total of K20.4 million in the first quarter of 2021.
Announcing the development at a media briefing in Lusaka today, HELSB Chief Executive Officer Irene Chirwa said the number of individuals making direct payments has increased.
Mrs Chirwa said K20.4 million brings the cumulative total to K115.6 Million collected from 2018 to 31st March, 2021.
“Between 1st January and 31st March, 2021, HELSB has recovered a total of K20.4 Million bringing the cumulative total to K115.6 Million collected from 2018 to 31st March, 2021,” she said.
She explained that employers initiated coping strategies including adjustments to their staff compliments aimed at reducing costs which affected the loan recoveries as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020.
She also announced that the HELSB was able to recover a total of K48.4 Million in 2020 compared to K38.1 Million recovered in 2019.
Mrs Chirwa said total recoveries in 2020 were projected at K50 Million.
Mrs Chirwa further disclosed that HELSB has sponsored a total of 46,644 beneficiaries whose loans have since become mature.
“18,810 beneficiaries were supported at the Copperbelt University (CBU) and 27,834 beneficiaries were supported at the University of Zambia (UNZA),” she said.
“So far, a total of 6,291 are paying back through the Government payroll and a total of 4,100 beneficiaries are employed in the private sector and are thus paying back through the individual employers’ payroll systems bringing the total of those paying back through the payroll systems to 10,391.”
She further said that the HELSB undertook a rigorous resource mobilisation programme on the recovery of mature loans.
Mrs Chirwa said this was intended to create a viable and sustainable revolving fund.
“Since commencement of the recoveries in 2018 the number of institutions remitting on behalf of their employees (student loan beneficiaries) has increased from 1 institution in 2018 to 93 institutions by 31st March, 2021,” she said.
“We have also established that 80 beneficiaries have passed on so their loans will be treated as bad loans since they were not insured.”
She said the HELSB has extended the granting of student loans to Five (5) more universities namely Kapasa Makasa University, Mukuba University, Mulungushi University, Chalimbana University and Kwame Nkrumah University.
Mrs Chirwa said this has been made possible because of the additional funds from loan recoveries.
“You may wish to know that the number of students being supported by HELSB has increasing with a total of 20,665 students being supported in 2019, 21,208 students being supported in 2020 and 24,260 being supported in 2021 at 7 public universities, including the UNZA and the CBU,” she said.