WINDHOEK- The Namibian Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) has started paying the promised N$17 000 to each boarding student as long as their outstanding invoices has been received.
The N$17 000 forms part of the agreed amount to be paid by the fund for hostel students at various institutions of higher learning; namely the Universty of Namibia (Unam), the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the International University of Managements (IUM).
This funding issue which has been dragging on for a while led to the Namibian National Students Organisation (Nanso) and Student’s Representative Councils (SRCs) from various tertiary institutions on September 4 holding a meeting with Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
It was during the said meeting that it was resolved that the Ministries of Higher Education and that of Finance were tasked to consult each other and report back to the student leadership in two weeks on the 80 percent boarding fees and non-tuition.
This comes after the students comprising of all higher educational institutions-both private and public who are funded by NSFAF staged a peaceful demonstration over a failed promise by NSFAF to settle outstanding accounts as per agreement signed between them and the fund.
Due to lack of fully financial obligations by NSFAF, students found themselves with shortfalls ranging from N$5000 to N$10 000.
The agreement was signed by Nanso vice president Bernard Kavau and NSFAF Acting Chief Executive, Kennedy Kandume.
The two parties said due to the economic downturn and competing priorities against limited resources, the higher education funding is equally affected.
For non-tuition fees for the 2018 academic year, the parties agreed NSFAF to pay a flat fee of N$17 000 per student non-tuition fees for both continuing students and new intakes.
This is applicable to both boarding and non-boarding students.
Kandume on Monday revealed the fund has started settling the outstanding N$17 000 for hostel students as promised per the agreement.
He said for non-hostel students, on top of the N$3000 paid per each non-boarding student in August 2018, another N$4000 per recipient will be paid as from Friday.
In terms of contracting and payment of 2018 new intake, Kandume noted that so far, 6 501 students out of 10 482 new intakes (exclusive of vocational training centres second intake) have signed contracts.
However, he maintained NSFAF only received invoices in favour of 4 879 students out of the sum that has signed contracts.
He said the later group will equally start receiving payments from Friday.
“We therefore would like to use this opportunity to urge 2018 beneficiaries who have not yet signed contracts to come forth and sign with NSFAF, before 24 September 2018 to avoid delay in processing of payments,” he urged. NSFAF has a student population of about 42 000.