The Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) says it will not be able to fund close to 50 University of Namibia (Unam) students pursuing a diploma course in local government.
The aggrieved students said they applied to NSFAF after carefully reading their policy on what the requirements were to qualify for a student loan.
“NSFAF then decided to accept us and allowed us to go through this whole procedure of getting acknowledgement letters. In April, they even asked for our proof of registration, which we uploaded with the hope of us getting through, as we had the acknowledgement list,” the students complained.
On 12 June, they said, they were happy after they saw their names on the award list.
Sadly, on 9 July, shortly when they were about to register for their second semester, NSFAF wrote on each student’s portal that they were rejected because NSFAF does not fund level 5 anymore.
“Many of our dreams were shuttered because our parents had to make up the payment for the last semester and the one for this semester that’s about to start. We are unable to afford, that’s why we went to NSFAF in the first place, since we thought they would look out for the Namibian child as clearly stated in their policy,” lamented the group of despondent Unam students.
Although the stranded students were initially awarded acknowledgement letters, NSFAF acting CEO Kennedy Kandume on Friday told New Era that the fund only provides financial assistance to diploma students that are on par with the Namibia Qualification Authority’s (NQA) level 6 as published in NQA’s ‘The Namibian Institutions and Programmes Accredited’ document.
Kandume said diploma programmes for Unam and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) frameworks were not published by NQA – and as such, they do not appear in the said document.
“We, however, recently discovered that some diplomas at the University of Namibia were evaluated at NQA level 5. For example, a one-year diploma in local government studies is below the funding requirements, resulting in applicants being rejected,” Kandume further explained.
Students blame NSFAF for failing to notify them before they applied for the 2020 academic funding, saying with the Covid-19 pandemic, many of their parents and guardians have lost their source of income.
“Where do we get money now that Unam wants their money? All NSFAF is telling us is to accept our fate and make other plans,” expressed one student.
Students demand NSFAF to rescue them so that they can be the last batch of students to be funded under level 5.