Rwanda: New System to Tackle Delays in Disbursing Students' Allowances

22 January 2020

For at least three times, Gentillese Cyuzuzo, a student from University of Rwanda (UR) in Bachelor of Journalism, has experienced a delay in receiving her monthly students' stipend.

Cyuzuzo depends on the allowance, which is currently Rwf40,000 a month, for literally everything to stay in school including rent, scholastic materials and feeding among other needs.

She is based at the university's Huye Campus in Huye district.

Cyuzuzo who said that delay affects her and fellow students who entirely depend on this stipend, Cyuzuzo told The New Times that "these delays should be dealt with, because they are becoming common to some of us."

Fortunately, institutions that are involved in the disbursement of varsity students' living allowance have announced an IT-based system that is expected to decisively solve these delays.

The new system was announced on Tuesday during a joint press conference that brought together the University of Rwanda, Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD), High Education Council (HEC) and student representatives from different campuses.

The study of this new instrument that is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

The delays have been attributed to different reasons, many of them arising from students according to BRD.

"We get these complaints (from students) often. But the delays are most of the times caused by students who don't sign loan contracts on time and even some who make errors during registration," said Claudine Matata, Head of Education Financing Portfolio in BRD.

Students are supposed to register for their scholarships and allowances at their campuses every year in a process to sieve out those that may have dropped out.

Afterwards, UR communicates these details to BRD for reference while disbursing the tuition fees loan and allowance.

She added that: "Among the errors include writing wrong emails, bank accounts and changing bank accounts. When our data doesn't match with the bank's data, the money gets stuck in banks."

However, students say that the allowance still delays even when they have provided all necessary information correctly.

Measures to tackle the issue

Statistics by BRD shows that so far, 28,466 are given a bursary loan and living allowance.

Of these, at least 458 have complained of delay in receiving their stipends and 245 of these complaints are due to students who haven't yet signed the loan contract.

"Under the new platform, we shall synchronize systems by BRD, HEC and UR so as to solve these delays by striking out any mismatch in the information provided," Francis Ndoli Karake, Manager of disbursements in BRD.

Karake also said that banks should be cooperative by notifying BRD in case they receive money and can't transfer it to students due to some information mismatch.

"Sometimes we assume the money has reached the students' account so if the bank could notify us immediately spot an anomaly, this delay can be minimized," he said.

Charles Murigande, the UR Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Institutional Advancement also said that stringent measures are going to be employed so as to ensure timely registration.

"There are times we set deadlines for registration and students don't follow it- which affects the disbursement. But now we are going to be strict on this, to the extent that those who do not register on time will not be given another chance because it's becoming a habit," he said.

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