Namibian president suggests to scrap study loans for students

Namibian president said the country could be scraping the study loans and introduce grants to enable school-leavers to build wealth after college.

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Hage Geingob
Hage Geingob

The announcement was made by President Hage Geingob during his address at a workshop on poverty eradication that ends Tuesday, and it comes when South African students took to the streets demanding zero tuition fee hikes.

Hage Geingob
Hage Geingob
Currently, the study loan system in Namibia is administered by the Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF). This body disburses and collects loan repayments from student after completion of studies.

In March this year, student representative bodies from various tertiary education centers called on the government to convert the study loans into grants.

Figures released by the NSFAF early this year show that in 2013, 711.5 million Namibian dollars (52 million U.S dollars) was disbursed in study loans in 2013, while 778 million Namibian dollars was given out last year.
The Fund also said the numbers of students seeking study loans had grown from 4,302 in 2009 to 8,922 in 2013. The figures for 2014 are not available.

According to the Fund, they receive more than 16,000 applications for funding every year, with 18,933 received in 2014 and 16,142 in 2015.

Collecting payments has not been easy for the Fund and as a result, between 2009 and 2011, the fund was owed more than 375 million Namibian dollars after it collected just 130,000 Namibian dollars.

In his address, Geingob said they should introduce grants so that nobody graduates in debt.

“Going forward, we should move away from loans to a grant system. It was not there (before), it was introduced by someone,” he said.

In 2012, Namibia scrapped fees for primary education and will introduce free education next year.

“At the moment, large subsidies to our local tertiary education institutions translate into the state covering up to 80 percent of university costs. University students also benefit from scholarships through the NSFAF,” Geingob said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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