Dar es Salaam — The Higher Education Students' Loans Board (Heslb) has begun disbursement of the Sh63.7 billion food and accommodation expenses for the third quarter of the 2019/2020 academic year.
In a statement to students issued on Thursday, May 21, the board said that the beneficiaries would have money in their bank accounts through their colleges by May 28, this year.
The initiative follows directive for the opening of higher education institutions by June 1, 2020 issued by President John Magufuli on Thursday.
The president called on among other things that by June 1, all students who are eligible to getting loans should have received their money to avoid further challenges.
Government closed schools and colleges on March 16, 2020 as part of the efforts to combat the spread of novel coronavirus in the country.
According to Heslb, under the existing system, food and accommodation fee are paid to the beneficiaries four times throughout the academic year, (every 60 days of the course that the student is required to attend).
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"By the time the universities were closed, students had been paid the first quarter disbursements in November, 2019 and the second quarter was issued in January, 2020," said Heslb executive director, Abdul-Razaq Badru in the statement.
The statement says that together with the money for food and accommodation, Heslb was also completing a Sh59.1 billion worth fees payments that will be disbursed to more than 70 institutions of higher learning in the country.
"The purpose of these payments is to enable educational institutions to afford operating costs and to provide targeted education to students... ," said Badru, adding that the fee payment will be available in all institutions that have submitted claims to the Board by May 29, 2020.
During the 2019/20 academic year, the government provided Sh450 billion worth of higher education loans to 132,119 beneficiaries studying at various institutions...
The funds cover six components: food and accommodation, fees, books and articles, research, practical training and special requirements for some faculties.