Unam Students Stranded At Hostel

MORE than 50 students, who are Namibian Students Financial Assistance Fund loan holders were stranded at the University of Namibia, after their loans could not cover their hostel fees.

Speaking to The Namibian yesterday, Unam spokesperson John Haufiku confirmed this, saying communication between the Fund and the students should improve, so that awareness is created and parents arrange to assist with the payments.

Four of the students, who spoke on condition of anonymity yesterday, said they came from the holidays and were to register last week Friday but to their surprise they were told they must first settle half of what they owe the university before they could be issued keys to their rooms.

According to them, this was a shocking revelation as they had been uninformed about the turn of events, which saw most students having to squat in their friends’ rooms while some slept in the hostel corridors.

A second-year law student said her loan in the first year amounted to about N$30 000 but she found that this year, it had been reduced to approximately N$20 000.

She said she lives on a farm outside Windhoek and her mother had to arrange accommodation with a friend where she says she is uncomfortable.

“I was told to pay N$8 000 before I could get my keys. Where will I get that money? This is why I got a loan in the first place,” she said.

She further pointed out that she had tried to negotiate with the hostel staff, so she can pay in installments but all attempts were in vain.

Another student said the whole situation is unrealistic as most students had no means to get money at such short notice, “A friend of mine was talking of getting a cash loan, which is even worse.”

Similarly, a second-year science student said he had managed to get some assistance from his uncle and has now moved into the hostel.

“It is bad, because most of them are from the north. Yesterday, there were some students who slept in the corridor. I walked by because there was nothing I could do to help,” he said.

Haufiku said the students, who started registration last week Friday, should know that there is usually a difference they should settle when the loan cannot cover the hostel fees.

“The university would usually take the tuition fee from the loan money and the difference goes to the hostel. Sometimes it is not enough and students’ parents should chip in to assist,” said Haufiku.

Source : The Namibian