Student Bursary Expenditure Close to N$1 Billion

The expenditure for students who received funding assistance from government last year was close to N$1 billion inclusive of both the new financial awards and the benefactors’ continuing financial obligations.

This was primarily the case because of the award rates adjustment that was effected across the board, following the findings that the majority of students were underfunded and as a result were topping up a huge amount of money despite being beneficiaries of the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF).

In an interview with New Era last Friday, NSFAF company secretary Fillemon Wise Immanuel could however not provide the student budget for the 201516 financial year, saying it will be shared with the public after the apportionment of the national budget by parliament, which is expected to resume next month.

“However, it suffices to say that given the overwhelming response by the applicants for 2015 and the award rates adjustment that have to be realized in the current financial year, the student budget is expected to skyrocket,” he revealed.

Asked about the number of applicants the fund received thus far, Immanuel noted that “as it stands” the fund is faced with the responsibility of adjudicating upon a total of 16142 new applications for the 2015 financial assistance.

The application process for financial assistance in 2015 started on August 1and closed on October 31 2014.

Although the application process was open for three months, Immanuel explained that the majority of applicants could be seen during the last week of October all competing for the front spots to ensure their application forms were submitted.

Following the closure of the application process, NSFAF then started with the scanning of application forms to establish the exact number of applications received for this year.

The application forms have been categorized per region with Omusati having 3 142 applicants, followed by Khomas with 2 941, Oshana with 2 584 while Oshikoto had 1 537 hopefuls.

Ohangwena had 1 390, Kavango East and Kavango West gathered 1 424 followed by Zambezi with 902, while Erongo saw 828 applicants.

Karas Region had 346 applicants, Otjozondjupa had 279 , Hardap had 200, followed by Omaheke with 146 and Kunene with 123 aspirants.

Meanwhile, about 300 applications were received from foreign missions.

When asked how many students would be sponsored for 2015, Immanuel said the number of applicants to receive financial assistance in 2015 depends on a number of factors, but mainly concerns the meeting of award requirements, selected institutions of study and the overall student budget as approved by cabinet.

He also revealed that the past two years of existence by NSFAF as an independent entity following its detachment from the Ministry of Education have been challenging, as NSFAF was pre-occupied with reform initiatives.

“Notwithstanding, the public and all the stakeholders have been exercising patience while giving support to the transitional journey of the fund. NSFAF therefore is indebted to thank all those who have understood and continue to understand our cause of action and reasons of existence. As we head for the rounding up of the reform activities, we are confidently informing the public that it is no longer going to be business as usual. NSFAF’s strategic plan is now in place and will be the navigating compass for the next five years,” he stated.

Applicants for 2015 are informed the fund will only commence with the selection and award process after registration of students by tertiary institutions.

The selection and award process for students intending to study at institutions in SADC (whose registration is in January) will commence next week Monday (January 26).

For students intending to study at local institutions (whose registration is in February) the process of selection and awards will commence after registration.

Source : New Era