ONGWEDIVA – Students enrolled at the Community Skills Development Foundation (COSDEF) in Tsumeb have given the institution an ultimatum to refund them for 2021 and 2022 academic years within three days.
In a demand letter sent to the management of the institution on Tuesday, the trainees threatened to take action if their demands are not met.
They said the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) pays the institution an amount to cover for registration and tuition, and the remainder is their refund.
They requested COSDEF to provide them with their financial records for 2021 and 2022, and demanded clarity from the COSDEC head office on how they calculated the 50% of the fund they have been refunded this week.
Failing to this, they threatened to take up the matter to the higher education ministry, the Namibia Qualification Authority, the Namibia Training Authority and Palms for Life for further investigation.
According to them, students were refunded only on 16 September – and despite signing for the full amount, only half of the amount indicated on the documents signed was paid into the students’ accounts without any explanation to them or any valid reason issued as to why the full amount was not paid.
Speaking to New Era, Viviana Simon, a student at COSDEF, said they were supposed to be refunded N$6 000, but they received only less than N$3 000.
“The non-tuition fee is mainly used to purchase school equipment and tools for our studies, but it has been eight months – and they only gave us a portion, which is not enough,” she said.
The students further threatened to stop attending classes until they receive their full payment.
In a response to students’ demands, COSDEF executive manager Jeremy Muller said after engagements with students, a commitment was established to finalise the refunds by 9 September 2022 – and this was made in light that NSFAF might have settled the applications due in 2022 by then.
He noted, so far, all students who have left or completed their studies have been refunded all due to them, and a 50% was given to current students who still owe the institution, given the current year programme enrolled for.
“This is made despite the uncertainty of their continued funding from NSFAF in 2022. Some of them didn’t sign contracts that should enable them to continue receiving funding in 2022,” said the manager.
Muller assured students that once confirmation of payment on the outstanding fee is settled through the funding body, the remaining 50% would be paid to students.
He emphasised a significant number of students signed one year contracts with NSFAF; thus, it has been challenging for NSFAF to honour or continue the subsequent period, pending clearing the contractual limitations.
He then requested students to also make sure all the technicalities that might limit funding are cleared.