Vice Chancellors want student loan scheme accessible to continuing students when universities reopen

The Uganda Vice Chancellors Forum wants the government to revise the student loan scheme to cater for all students.

The Vice Chancellors say parents are likely to face difficulties paying tuition when universities reopen.

Appearing before the National Economy Committee of Parliament on Wednesday, the Executive Director of the Vice Chancellors Forum, Professor Paul Mugambi noted that some Universities could close while others will not pay salaries for their lecturers.

The committee is scrutinizing the effects of COVID-19 on businesses.

Mugambi proposed that the government should consider revising the student loan scheme and make it accessible to all students.

He adds that Kenya and Tanzania have liberalized the student loan scheme such that it is available for every student.

The Vice-Chancellors Forum also proposes that the government provides support in terms of external grant and research funding as a means to support the universities.

He adds that even before the outbreak of COVID-19, universities struggled to get funding.

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They also propose that the cap on students loans should be removed because it is unrealistic to expect science courses like Medicine, Dentistry and Architecture to cost the same with humanity courses.

Mugambi also wants the Government to support private, chartered and not for profit universities to offset their wage bill for at least a semester.

He also proposes that the Government should support the institutions procure temperature monitors, face masks and sanitizers for the University community among others.

However, the committee chairperson Syda Bbumba says that Government has in the past supported private universities.

Currently, scheme is only mandated to offer loans and scholarships to qualifying students of Uganda at Higher Educations Institutions.

The fund intends to provide financing to Ugandan students who have qualified for higher education in recognized institutions of higher learning but are unable to support themselves financially.

Initially the loan amount is put at a capping of a weighted average Unit cost of UGx. 4 Million to cater for the pedagogical component (tuition fees, re-search fees, functional fees, aids and appliances for persons with disabilities) while the non pedagogical component such as accommodation, meals, transport costs are a  cost shared by the students.


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