In spite of huge debates, hesitancy and dismay to repay the Namibian Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) loans, some patriotic Namibians have started paying their dues. Tobias Shinyemba (29) said he commenced the process of repaying because the fund needs to continue funding other students, whose parents/guardians are not able to pay their tuition fees and living expenses.
“I was privileged to benefit from this (loan) and I don’t want to be selfish by denying other deserving Namibians from benefitting. I believe the money we are paying back will assist the fund to meet the shortfall on the budget they get from the government,” Shinyemba told Youth Corner.
He encouraged fellow loan holders to do the honourable thing and fulfil their obligations. “My first repayment debit order went off today. I am grateful for the loan and grant I received from the fund. I am hoping to be receiving annual statements on the outstanding balance,” he stated on Twitter.
Shinyemba was accorded a loan of N$41 300 to pursue a degree in science, majoring in population studies at the University of Namibia – and further received a grant of N$33 380 for his postgraduate studies, which he is not liable to repay. “I hope the money we are paying back will not be misappropriated like it has been happening in the past,” said Shinyemba, adding he does not want to hear news of executives increasing their salaries.
The educator then urged all patriotic citizens of this beautiful country who were assisted by the fund to repay their loans because there are other deserving and gifted students who need to benefit from the fund – but due to shortages of money, some are turned away. “For those who got their loans recently, you need to study smart to ensure you complete your studies within the contract period. You should not think of this as free money you get from NSFAF,” said Shinyemba.
He added financial discipline is key – even with the non-tuition fees they receive. “They should use those funds wisely. Financial discipline needs to be instilled in them while they are still at the beginning of their studies to avoid plunging into debt. If they learn to manage the non-tuition fees properly, they will be in a better position to manage their money when they are employed,” advised Shinyemba.
Meanwhile, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) youth representative Maximalliant Katjimune said the majority of students sponsored by the fund are poor, black and come from difficult family backgrounds with no generational wealth.
“This is the very reason why they apply for funding. Their families cannot afford to send them to institutions of higher learning. When these students graduate, they are often the breadwinners within their families,” he stated. Katjimune added it is then incumbent on them to ensure they not only drag their families out of a vicious cycle of generational poverty, but also attempt to build their wealth portfolio and take care of the families as young adults.
He said it is unacceptable that these very same graduates immediately go into debt after graduation. “It is for this reason student bodies have called for free higher education, so that we do not burden those who are already disadvantaged by past historical and wealth contradictions,” he commented.