Why higher education loan applicants need to be keen

Sunday August 01 2021
Loans pic

In the 2021/22 financial year, Heslb will spend a total of Sh570 billion up from Sh464 billion in the year 2020/21. PHOTO | FILE

By Jacob Mosenda

Dar es Salaam. The over 160,000 students expected to apply for the higher education loans for the academic year 2021/22 have been cautioned to avoid making mistakes when filling out the requisite forms.

The admissions window opened on July 9, 2021 and is expected to be open for 53 days until August 31, this year has already attracted more than 40,000 students as of Friday this week, according to Higher education students loans board (Heslb).

In the 2021/22 financial year, Heslb will spend a total of Sh570 billion up from Sh464 billion in the year 2020/21. The amount will see at least 62,000 first year students and 98,000 continuing university students benefiting.

“We urge applicants for these loans not to simply fill out the forms without reading the application guide for 2021/22. This will help avoid mistakes and missing out on loans,” said Ms Veneranda Malima, Heslb communications officer.

Ms Malima noted that there have been some students who start filling out the forms which is available on the board’s website so they find themselves mistaken for an issue that could deprive them of such loans despite having criteria.

In 2020/21, the government loaned a total of 149,398 students-55,287 of them first-year students, while 94, 111 were to continue with their studies. But in this year (2021/22) has increased the loan fund by Sh106 billion, equivalent to 22.8 percent that would cater for not less than 10,000 more students in universities.

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“We need to see all qualified students get this loan and fulfil this year’s target set, so everyone should make sure they get the right information, and fill out their form before the window is closed,” said Ms Malima.

In another development, a call was made for higher education debtors to repay their loans especially after the nuisance levies were cancelled.

These charges include value retention fee (6 percent) and a 10-percent.

“Currently there are no levy nuisances, we encourage debtors to be responsible for repaying their money, 15 per cent of their employed salary and Sh100,000 or any other amount for the self-employed,” she said.

She added, “We need a trend to allocate funds for loans that has been increasing to continue so that they do not go down again for students from poor households to continue being supported.”