In an effort to raise more funds to facilitate a bigger number of students at higher institutions of learning, the Director General of the Students’ Financing Agency for Rwanda (SFAR), Furaha Emma Rubagumya, has urged loan beneficiaries to take the initiative and repay the loans
“We are recovering these funds right from the 80s and we need to have an accurate list of the people who acquired these loans. Some of those individuals died while others are away.”
“It is also bad that the most recent beneficiaries also get jobs but it is still difficult to track them. Former beneficiaries should take the responsibility to come forward and declare that they are employed.”
The repayment mechanism was put in place by the government to facilitate all those who benefited from the government loans for higher education to refund their tuition.
According to the SFAR Director of Loan Recovery, Desire Gacinya, at the time of establishing this mechanism in May 2008, a target to raise Rwf1.7 billion in two years was set.
To date Rwf2 billion has been collected against the set target.
“It is good that we managed to collect more than what was anticipated however, the demand is still so high. More money is still needed and we shall not give up on sensitizing those who have not yet paid to clear,” Gacinya said.
“The more money we recover, the more students we take on for sponsorship. Although efforts to recover the loans have yielded good results so far, it is better to raise more money since this alone may not meet our budget.”
The official cited people in the private sector as some of the individuals who are not paying.
As regards loan reimbursement, Gacinya noted that the agency has changed the system of loan application as a way of enabling students to know earlier, whether or not they will be sponsored for higher education.
“Initially students would apply for the loans in October and forms would be returned in November. Since the students had to start school in January of the next year, there was not enough time to quickly determine the status of each student.”
“This time round forms will be distributed and filled in next week so that there is ample time till January to clearly know who meets or does not meet the sponsorship criteria,” Gacinya noted.
At present the institution sponsors 24,098 students at local higher institutions of learning while 773 are sponsored in international universities.
SFAR was established by Cabinet on July 29, 2003 as an autonomous agency under the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Scientific Research (MINEDUC) to oversee loan disbursements and ensure that those who get the loans pay back.