Scores of university students will be forced to drop out because of prolonged delay of loans to cover tuition and other expenses.
The development comes in the wake of last week’s announcement by the High Education Students’ Loan Board (HESLB) that it issued loans to over 40,000 students out of 50,830 applications received in 2015/16 academic year.
However, the payment only covered new students but skipped all together the majority of continuing students.
In separate interviews, a cross-section of students from different universities blamed the loans facility of being “too selective” and giving little consideration to continuing students.
Charles Alphonce, a second year student at Mzumbe University, told The Guardian that he had all the required qualifications to secure a loan yet he had being left out.
“This is the third time I am applying for a loan and I have never got any luck,” he lamented.
“I can’t understand what’s wrong with my applications,” he said with the sad acknowledgment that, “...should I fail to get the loan this time around I will have to postpone my classes.”
Alphonce who comes from a poor family background said he has been struggling to raise funds for his studies but due to increasing costs he may be forced to drop out.
Another student from the University of Science and Technology (MUST) Mbeya Campus, Samuel Hosea shared a similar experience and appealed to the board to treat all eligible loan applicants fairly without bias.
Hosea also called upon the board to give special consideration to students from outside the campus regions who have to go out of pocket to survive while waiting for the loans that may not come at all.
Chairman of the Ministers of Loans in High Education in Tanzania, Shitindi Venance, said the gravity of the problem is such that only 400 students of 6,000 eligible students at the University of Dar es Salaam received their loans in their first year.
Expressing profound dismay over the exclusion of continuing students, Venance said numerous continuing students have not being considered for the loan and remain in dilemma.
“The government should be transparent in issuing of loans because the money is not given to the students as an offer but as a loan which will later be repaid,” he said.
He challenged the 30, 000/- fees charged for every application made by students and asked the loan facility to reconsider the amount to accommodate more applications.
HESLB Assistant Director of Communication, Education and Information, Cosmas Mwaisoba said the continuing students who applied for loans for the first time will be treated as are the first year applicants.
Students who have received loans so far are 40,836 students and the loan amount is pegged at 155.2bn/-.