Govt names 1,100 students loan beneficiaries for 2023/24

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Govt names 1,100 students loan beneficiaries for 2023/24
Minister Muyingo (left) and Dr Wana-Etyem during the release of the report at Uganda Media Centre

The board had only Shs5.2 billion for the students loan scheme this financial year.

EDUCATION | The government will extend loan support to 1,100 learners in the Academic Year 2023/24across the divide under its Students’ Loan Scheme.

The beneficiaries in the 10th cohort include 207 (33 percent) females with 518 (83 percent) of the 1,100 successful applicants on undergraduate degree programmes, while 107 (17 percent) are studying diploma programmes.

While announcing the beneficiaries on Wednesday, the State Minister for Higher Education, Dr John Chrysostom Miyingo, admitted that the demand for student loans has surpassed the available resources.

The board had only Shs5.2 billion for the students loan scheme this financial year.

According to the Loan Award Report presented by the Chairperson Governance Board, Eng Dr Charles Wana-Etyem, the Board received a total of 6,225 loan applicants compared to the 3,089 in the Academic Year 2022/23.

Of the 6,225 applications, only 1,912 (78 percent) were eligible for the scheme. Of these 1,854 (77 percent) are male while 563 (23 percent) were female.

Minister Miyingo assured the board of more funding to the scheme.

“We recognise that there is need for more funding to capitalize the Board as the current demand for student loans has certainly surpassed the available resources,” he said.

“My Ministry will seek audience with our counterparts at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and colleagues in Parliament for increased funding for the Board.”

The minister noted that a total of 74 districts had all their applicants successful that saw most applicants from Northern Region leading in the total awards.

The Executive Director, HESFB, Mr Michael Wanyama, said the Board sustained the affirmative action programme targeting female applicants and persons with disabilities where it gave a seven-point advantage to the female applicants and persons with disabilities.

Twenty-three persons with disabilities were selected to study various programmes in sciences and humanity programmes.

Dr Wana-Etyem said there were efforts to simplify and decentralise the application process to ensure broader accessibility.

He recognized the success of the online application mode and the decrease in the number of applicants compared to previous years, attributing it to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lack of financing prospects.

"The Students' Loan Scheme has gained popularity among the youth and is appreciated by many Ugandans for providing opportunities to financially needy learners," said Dr Wana-Etyem.

The Students Loan Scheme is a proactive government intervention to assist financially constrained students.

Reflecting on the selection process, Wanyama noted, "We called for applicants within a two-week period, from March 14 to March 15," attributing the urgency to ongoing academic activities.

"The Board maintains minimal interaction with the applicants until the selection process is complete, ensuring complete transparency in awarding the student loans," he said.

"The introduction of the Student Loan Scheme has opened doors for underprivileged learners to access higher education at both undergraduate degree and diploma levels."

The list of beneficiaries can be found here.

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