WINDHOEK- The University of Namibia (Unam) and the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) has entered into an agreement which will allow government-funded students to register at very reduced fees.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which was signed by Unam Vice- Chancellor, Professor Kenneth Matengu and NSFAF Chief Executive Officer Kennedy Kandume on Thursday has paved way for first year students with NSFAF acknowledgment letters to only pay a total registration fee of N$1 575.
This year, Unam management decided to be generous to its new and continuing students by lowering the deposits of tuition fees to make it easier for them to register.
Unam took a decision not to charge a 50 percent tuition fee deposit as it has been doing over the years, but rather give Namibian students a figure to pay N$3 200 for deposit on tuition regardless of their field of study.
Unam spokesperson John Haufiku explained the minimum fee to pay at registration is N$5 350.
This means those NSFAF funded first year students will be exempted as they are only required to pay a registration fee of N$1 575.
He said out of N$5 350, the N$3 200 is meant for deposit on tuition fees, and the remaining N$2 150 is to cover administrative and connectivity fees.
For Sadc students, an amount of N$4 800 is payable as deposit tuition fees and N$5 150 will be paid for registration fees.
The memorandum seeks to strengthen efforts by both organisations to service a mutual and key stakeholder; namely the Namibian students.
The document will therefore serve as a guide through which to interact and smoothen student financing.
“The MoU is the first official partnership between Unam and NSFAF, despite the two organisations’ long history of working closely together,” stated Kandume.
Matengu hailed the initiative and said he is “excited” about the prospects that this formal partnership brings.
Equally, he said it is important that government continues to fund students, saying without it, many students will not be able to afford higher education.
NSFAF will only fund students who have obtained at least 25 points in five subjects and who can produce an acknowledged letter during the registration period.
Unam warned that failure to produce an acknowledgement letter means that the university will deem the student to be self-funded.
The Namibia National Student’s Organisation (Nanso) has however called NSFAF to deploy its staff to higher education institutions of higher learning during this registration period to deal with students queries especially since NSFAF has moved from the accessible Central Business District office to Eros where poor students are unable to reach.
“Speed up the processing of issuing provisional award letters to students who have applied for funding both undergraduate and postgraduate prospective students, to enable them to register and be admitted into institutions of higher learning,” urged Nanso President Ester Simon.
Moreover, she said Nanso expect all tuition and non-tuition fees to be paid by the end of January.
This she says will allow all students to access results and register.
She revealed the Nanso national executive committee has to this effect written to the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Research and Office of the Prime Minister to ensure that funds are expedited so that all NSFAF beneficiaries’ debts are cleared.
Nanso further requested that NSFAF must issue commitment letters to all institutions ensuring that all NSFAF beneficiaries will not pay registration fees.
In this academic period, Nanso call on NSFAF to be more proactive, more efficient, more effective, more transparent and more accountable to students as they deal with funding students.
Nanso charged many students’ tuition fees has not yet been paid and others still have outstanding fees; particularly to its members from the institutions such as Unam, Nust, IOL, International University of Management, Namibia College of Open Learning, National Health Training Centre, Vocational Training Centres, Triumphant College, National Institute of Technology and Welwitchia University.
This it says has led to many of the students unable to view their results and unable to register because of the outstanding fees.
“We are clear that outstanding student non or tuition fees must be settled on time as promised and expected. We will continue to robustly and transparently engage NSFAF so as to ensure progressive and timely funding of all qualified student beneficiaries and that new applications and award letters are processed in time before registration,” Simon said.
This year, Nanso said it will be geared towards ensuring that government declares a Free- Tertiary Education.
“We will ensure that Free-Tertiary Education announcement is made before June 2019,” she vowed.