Ex-students respond to loan repayment appeal
Contrary to expectations, former public universities’ students who obtained loans for school fees and stationery are responding overwhelmingly to the appeal by the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board, the board’s Executive Director Chris Chisoni has confirmed.
The board has been advertising in the local press, asking the former students to liaise with its secretariat on the status of their loans and agree with the board on the modalities of loan repayment.
According to the board, all loans accessed during the academic years 1985 to 2012 or earlier are considered as mature and are expected to be fully repaid within a period not exceeding 12 months from this month.
In an interview yesterday, Chisoni confirmed that following the appeal, some ex-students have started repaying their loans while others are inquiring from the board the status of their loans.
“I can confirm that the response is overwhelming. We didn’t think our appeal would attract such an attractive response from the general public, particularly those who are expected to repay the loans,” said Chisoni.
He added: “We continue receiving phone calls and emails from people who are interested to repay their loans. They are inquiring the modalities and others have already started responding by repaying. It is refreshing that some are even repaying more than what they got after seeing how our currency has depreciated between the time they obtained the loans and now.”
Chisoni further expressed optimism that the hype that the appeal has created will be sustained “considering that the number of those required to pay their loans is quite huge”.
According to the board, former students owe government nearly K3 billion. This amount is enough to run a whole university in a year.
Meanwhile, a University of Malawi (Unima) alumnus and politician Kamuzu Chibambo has joined voices of those appealing to former university students to repay their loans as it was essentially supposed to be a revolving scheme.
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