Sunday, May 26, 2024

Chancellor Chakwera hikes Public University Students’ Upkeep Allowances

Henry Chingaipe

The Higher Education Students Loans and Grants Board (HESLGB) has officially declared a significant boost in upkeep loan allowances for students enrolled in public universities, doubling the amount from K280,000 to K560,000, effective April 1, 2024.

Following a directive from President Lazarus Chakwera as Chancellor for public universities, issued on March 6 of this year, urging the Ministers of Education and Finance to reassess upkeep loans in light of shifting macroeconomic dynamics.

Addressing reporters at a press briefing in Salima, Henry Chingaipe, spokesperson for the Board of Directors of HESLGB, unveiled that the application window for students aspiring to avail themselves of the loans would open from May 1, 2024, to June 30, 2024.

“Stakeholders extensively deliberated on the scenarios that were provided to take into consideration before adjusting the upkeep allowance; specifically, we considered an average inflation rate of 30 percent and the last review of upkeep loans which happened in the academic year 2021-22,” he said.

He added: “Ultimately, they decided on K560,000 as the new upkeep loan, which was derived from the calculation of the current inflation rate compounded over two outward years. This translates to a 60 percent upward adjustment applied to the current loan amount of K350,000.”

He said it is worth noting that the K560,000 per student per academic year translates to K280,000 per semester of four months or K70,000 per month within a semester.

On this point, he revealed that World Bank, through a project called Skills for a Vibrant Economy (SAVE) Project, is further supporting students who are studying on the Open Distance e-Learning (ODeL) mode in public universities in selected priority areas.

The priority areas are Education, Health, Agriculture, Energy, Information Communications Technology (ICT), and Industry.

Through the project, in the 2024-2025 loan cycle, HESLGB will consider 288 additional new female ODeL applicants in public universities in the mentioned priority study programmes.

Chingaipe, therefore, said that loans are only provided to students who apply and meet the eligibility criteria. Therefore, both existing and new ODeL beneficiary students must apply to express their interest to be considered for a loan for the 2024-2025 loan cycle.

HESLGB was established in 2015 as one of the reforms for the Ministry of Education in financing higher education. It is mandated to provide loans and award grants to needy and academically outstanding students, pursuing higher education in accredited institutions of higher learning in Malawi.



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