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Monday, 04 December 2017 14:20

K250 million recovered from from 9,500 former loan beneficiary students

Written by  Memory Kutengule

Blantyre, December 4, 2017: Higher Education Student Loans and Grants Board (HESLGB) says has recovered over K250 million from 9,576 former students who benefited from the loans since September 20l6.

HESLGBExecutive Director, Chris Chisoni, has observed that there are still 12,640 beneficiaries who have not complied but whose loans have matured and need to be repaid.

“The persisting mentality that students’ loans were government grants and they should not be paid back is affecting our operations. Since 15 months ago, we have been making appeals for former loan beneficiaries to pay back.

“Whilst some are paying back, there are more that are still not paying back and this is affecting our support to the current needy students,” Chisoni said Friday responding to a questionnaire sent to him.

Chisoni noted that tracing of most former student loan beneficiaries is also a challenge despite that a number of employers from different organizations are assisting them in undertaking the task.

Chisoni suggested the need to strengthen collaboration with other utility providers such as Malawi Revenue Authority, Immigration Department and Office of the Registrar of Companies to trace information about former university students.

“As HESLGB, all we need as of now is to ensure that students who got loans, unless they are dead, should commence paying it back as this is the only way we can support the present and the next generation of students with finances through loans to access higher education,” Chisoni said.

The Executive Director further disclosed the board plans to engage legal practitioners to facilitate commencement of legal proceedings against individual loan beneficiaries who are not complying with the recoveries campaign.

“Currently, we are directly targeting former beneficiaries through mounting of billboards, radio and our website to link up with all graduates and Malawian embassies across the globe to facilitate tracing of former students’ loan beneficiaries in diaspora.

“But we will soon facilitate commencement of legal proceedings against such non-compliant beneficiaries because we have the legal mandate to take defaulters to court so that all those who benefited from the former students’ loan schemes in turn pay back the loans,” he explained.

According to Chisoni, students who got scholarships are not involved in loan repayments saying, “The scholarships might have different conditions from those of government loans.”

The need for students’ loan recoveries is a strategy for HESLGB to diversify its resource base. Failure by former loan beneficiaries to comply with the initiative affects government’s effort in bridging the gap between the poor and the rich in accessing higher education.

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