Over one thousand students in public and private universities and other tertiary institutions in Uganda have received scholarship loans to facilitate their educational aspirations.
The students’ loan scheme was established under the Parliamentary Act No.2 of 2004, which paved the way for the Higher Education Students Finance Board.
The Board, which started with awarding 1201 undergraduate student scholarship loans in the 2014/15 academic year, is entrusted with a mandate of providing loans and scholarships to all eligible Ugandans to enable them access higher education at affordable rates.
In the two ensuing academic years, the Board has since awarded scholarships to 1276 and 1191 students, respectively, and this figure is expected to rise to 1334 after awarding loans to diploma students pursuing their studies at other tertiary institutions.
This year the board received a total of 3575 applications through Centenary Bank including 2700 males and 875 females, with the exception of applicants from the districts of Amudat and Kaabong.
For this academic year, 834 applicants representing 70 per cent are male, while 375 applicants, representing 30 percent, are female.
“I am happy that to report that all the districts from which we received applications have successful loan applicants thus the results represent a national outlook and regional balance,” the Board chairperson Rev. Fr. Prof. Callisto Locheng, said today while addressing the media at the Uganda Media Centre.
He however said the Board was trying to engage the district leadership and other stakeholders of the districts without applicants to rectify the anomaly.
Speaking at the same function the State Minister for Higher Education Dr. John Chrysestom Muyingo attributed the failure to have applicants from Amudat and Kaabong districts to lack of ‘assistance’ from the education ministry, local leadership and the media.
The beneficiary public institutions include Makerere University, Kyambogo University, Busitema University, Gulu University, Muni University, Kabale University, Lira University, Soroti University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST).
The private chartered universities include Ndejje University, Nkumba University, Uganda Martyrs University (UMU), Uganda Christian University (UCU), Bugema University, the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU), Kampala International University (KIU), Bishop Stuart University and Kampala University (KU).
The social and economic conditions of the applicants and their parents, equity, gender and interest expressed through application, are some of the considerations while awarding loans.