By Toivo Mvula
– The Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF)
The cost of tertiary education has been in the media spotlight of late, due to the inability of students to pay their accommodation fees at the University of Namibia. The Ministry of Education established a loan scheme in 1997 to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) was created to replace the Public Service bursary scheme whose purpose was to train people to work solely in the public service.
Which Students Are Eligible for a Loan from the NSFAF?
The loans are awarded to students who are orphans, those who are studying fields of high priority and those whose parents cannot afford to pay for their studies. The loans are awarded to students whose parents’ combined income is N$150 000 and less, before deductions.
What Are These Fields of Priority?
1. Teacher education majoring in Mathematics and Science, English and Computer Science;
2. Medical and related sciences;
3. Agriculture and Veterinary Science;
4. Natural Science, Computer Technology and Information Technology;
5. Engineering and related fields, including Energy, Mining and Architecture;
6. Communication, Conservation, Tourism, Hospitality and Information Science, including teacher education in these fields;
8. Economics, Commerce and Accounting, including teacher education in these fields;
9. Police and strategic studies;
10. Public Administration and Personnel Management;
11. Humanities, Social Work and Nursing, including teacher education in these fields; and,
12. Culture, Sport and Art, including teacher education in these fields.
What Does the Loan Cover?
The loan only covers tuition fees. The NSFAF cannot cover accommodation, because it wants to assist as many students as possible. The NSFAF receives more than 17 000 applications each year, but can only assist less than 4 000 students each year.
How Many Students Have Benefited from the NSFAF?
The NSFAF has assisted close to 22 000 students since 1997 to the tune of close to N$400 million.
Are Students Paying Back Their Loans?
The pace of loan recovery is very low. The Ministry of Education is looking at how it can improve the recovery of loans from the students who have benefited from the NSFAF. Students who have benefited from the fund are urged to repay their loans to enable the NSFAF to assist more students and to hopefully assist students with accommodation fees. Please take note that defaulters will be dealt with accordingly.
How Can Loans Be Repaid?
Loan repayment can be made by debit order (through bank deduction), stop order (salary deduction), and through any approved banking institution.
Students can also make direct deposits to the following details:
Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF)
Cheque Account No.: 8 000 359 824, Bank Windhoek,
Branch and Code: Kudu (48-21-72)
In case of direct bank deposits, the deposit slip should be forwarded to the NSFAF immediately.
For more information, contact the NSFAF at 061-2706172.
Application forms for loans can be obtained from the Ministry of Education. Forms will also be available at the Ongwediva Trade Fair from 24 August to 01 September 2007, Okakarara Trade Fair from 13 September to 17 September 2007 and the Windhoek Show from 28 September to 06 October 2007.
– The Education Corner is a column created by the Ministry of Education to highlight educational issues that are of concern to its stakeholders (learners, students, parents, teachers, development partners, unions, and the private and public sector). For more information, contact the Public Relations Office at tel: 061-2933358 or 2933366.