In the quest to make higher education and training accessible to eligible and qualifying students, the government, through the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund, has invested over N$7 billion in student funding at public and private institutions for the past five years.
Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi announced the investment as part of her commencement message for the 2023 academic year to higher education and training institutions.
"The government has always been committed to having eligible and qualifying students, with particular priority being given to the neediest students to have a smooth transition to higher education and technical, vocational education and training level," she assured.
She noted for the past few years, NSFAF has funded almost all the eligible and qualifying new students.
Eligible and qualifying students whose parents' combined income is below N$500 000 per annum are given priority for government funding.
"I wish to inform the prospective students that the NSFAF student loan covers 100% of students' tuition fees at the respective institutions of higher learning. One of the challenges experienced is that many students fail to sign their loan agreement with NSFAF as provided for in the NSFAF Act," she observed.
She, therefore, urged all eligible students to take responsibility for their education by ensuring the contract with NSFAF is signed.
An unsigned contract does not sanction the disbursement of either the tuition fees to the institutions, nor the non-tuition fees meant for the student's upkeep.
"It is compulsory that once you are awarded NSFAF sponsorship, you make your contract active by affixing your signature. Failure to do so is like having money but refusing to access it," she said.
Equally, Kandjii-Murangi reminded students she launched the NSFAF application process last November, and the deadline for applications is 31 January 2023.
She said the date is fast approaching, further urging prospective students to apply online to be considered for funding.
She said in her recent engagements with some of the higher education institutions, the various heads of institutions confirmed that effective response strategies and options have been worked out and put in place to facilitate the smooth transitioning of learners to higher education and training.
Moreover, she appealed to the leadership, executive members, staff and students at all local universities, colleges and vocational training centres to work hard to create welcoming environments.
In this regard, she advised that targeted strategies for reducing and diffusing anxiety, frustration and stress should be identified and implemented at all higher education institutions across the country. - firstname.lastname@example.org