The Higher Education Students Financing Board (HESFB) has announced it will be receiving applications from needy students wishing to take education loans to complete their studies starting next month -October 2021.
The Student Loan Scheme by HESFBUG is a cost-sharing initiative by the Government of Uganda with the objective of increasing equitable access to higher education to those who had finalized their basic education levels.
According to a statement issued on Monday, available education loans are for continuing students effective 2021/2022 and the fund will cater for continuing students struggling to finish their study programmes. The funds will be directed to finalists in the 5th, 4th 3rd and 2nd year depending on the years of the programme.
“The window for application will open concurrently with the existing First Year’s students loan opportunity in October 2021. The selection process will be guided by the Means Test using proxy indicators that evidence financial difficulties of each applicant.” The statement reads in part.
In their communication, HESFB is responding to increasing calls and appeals from students, institutions and the public to consider continuing students who face financial challenges in the course of their studies. The funds available amounting to 500million, was appropriated by the Parliament of Uganda to serve this purpose.
According to the arrangement, HESFB disburses fees to the successful needy students on a straight line basis and upon completion of studies, students are offered a grace period of 12 months after which the maximum repayment period is twice the study period.
The loan however, covers the the direct costs (academic component) ie; tuition fees, functional fees, research fees, and Aids or Appliances for Person with Disabilities (PWDs).
A student beneficiary of the loan scheme is expected to cater for the welfare expenses including accommodation, feeding, medical care, scholastic materials and any other expenses required during the study period.
The board began operations in 2014 has so far awarded loans to a total of 11,187 beneficiaries out of which 9,632 undertook courses for undergraduate degrees and 1,555 undergraduate diplomas beneficiaries to study 130 degree programmes and 76 undergraduate diploma courses mainly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Eligibility for continuing student loans for the year 2021/2022 requires one to be a Ugandan and must be in their final year of studies.
He or she should be pursuing any of the HESFB’s approved STEM programmes or programmes approved under affirmative action. He or she should be going to be studying from any of the approved HEIs ie; All public Universities, all chattered private Universities and All listed OTIs.
All applicants must demonstrate a financial need and shall be appraised under the Means Testing Instrument.