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K4 billion reserved for student loans

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The government has given The Higher Education Students’ Loans and Grants Board K4 billion to distribute as loans to students in public universities for the 2017/18 academic year

Loans Board Executive Director, Chris Chisoni, has said this has helped the board to increase the number of beneficiaries as compared to last academic year.

“Last year, we were given K1.7 billion and, with that money, we managed to reach out to about 7,662 needy students from both public and private universities. This time around, we will manage to reach out to about 9,721 students or more. As I am talking to you, the names of the selected students have been sent to their respective universities for verification,” Chisoni said.

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Chisoni further said the number of loan applicants has increased as compared to last year.

“We know there are a lot of needy students and it is unfortunate that the board cannot reach out to all of them but, the way things are unfolding, we are certain that, as years go by, we will be able to reach out to a lot more students than we have done in the recent past,” he said.

Commenting on progress of the loan recovery exercise, Chisoni said the board has registered little progress after the grace period expired.

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“We came up with so many ways to reach out to former University of Malawi students on the loan recovery programme. We announced that we would start naming and shaming and, if the worse comes to worst, [we would] drag them to court because the law is there and it is clear. As it is right now, we are relying on employers who are deducting money direct from their employees,” he said.

During the grace period from April 2016 to March 2017, the board collected about K155 million of the estimated K1.8 billion from former would students.

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