Uganda: 17,000 university students at risk of missing student easy loans
At least 17,000 students from Makerere, Gulu and Soroti universities who are expected to be admitted for the 2021/2022 academic year are on the verge of missing government student easy loans after institutions fail to admit private students on time.
The student loan application that started last month ends today, which will see students locked out.
To be eligible for the study loan, he or she must be admitted to universities and other accredited higher education institutions and must complete science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs or those approved in the framework for affirmative action easy loans
The Higher Education Student Funding Office (HESFB), which is mandated to grant student loans, has not received any applications from students admitted to the three universities.
HESFB sources told Daily Monitor yesterday that the three universities have yet to release the lists of privately sponsored students and that if the board does not extend the application deadline, their students will be excluded.
“The fate of the students at these universities is in the hands of the HESFB. You see that the freshmen at some universities such as Kabale have started studying and the board is supposed to pay their tuition fees,” said one source.
“But there are other universities that have yet to admit students, so the council is at a crossroads to serve all students,” the source added.
Makerere admits the majority of the country’s students with a total of 14,500 students last year, while Gulu and Soroti universities admit between 1,000 and 1,600.
HESFB spokesperson Mr Bob Nuwagira confirmed that they had not yet received applications from students at the universities in question, but added that the board was dealing with the matter.
“The deadline ends today and the board will communicate the way forward on whether to extend the deadline to respond to affected students or accompany those who have applied,” Nuwagira said.
Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Umar Kakumba said they had not been able to complete the admissions exercise due to the high number of students they are dealing with.
He said, however, that they were in talks with the HESFB to extend the deadline because the students are not the culprits.
“You know we are admitting students who come straight from Secondary 6, graduate students, pre-entry law students and mature students. Now sorting it all out is not an easy task,” the professor said. Kakumba.
“We are however at 90% of admitting our students and we hope that by the end of this week the lists will be published. We hope that the deadline will be extended to respond to our students as well,” he said. he adds.
Professor Kakumba, said the university registrar was dealing with admissions.
Last month, the government asked eligible needy students to apply for study loans for the 2021/2022 academic year.
The government should provide student loans to 1,600 needy students who wish to pursue degree programs.
The loans cover tuition, functional and any other fees required by educational institutions. They also cover aids and devices for people with disabilities. Online applications officially kicked off yesterday with suitable applicants expected to demonstrate financial need.