KIGALI - The Student Financing Agency for Rwanda (SFAR), has announced that it has retained only 24.6 percent of the students after establishing that they were totally needy and could not afford to finance their upkeep while at university.
This follows the recent government decision to scrap the monthly stipend for university students on government sponsorship. The students have been getting a monthly stipend of Rwf25, 000 on top of tuition.
The 24.6 percent are part of the over 23, 000 students who are sponsored by government in the eight public institutions of higher learning, and have been getting the stipend.
The decision was highly protested, with students claiming that they would drop out of school. However, a taskforce was set up by the Ministry of Education to determine the neediest students.
Speaking to the press yesterday, the Director of SFAR, Emma Rubagumya, said that the task force has completed most of the work it was supposed to carry out.
“We used a number of means to come up with this number which included the use of Ubudehe classifications that were prepared by the Ministry of Local government,” said Rubagumya.
Ubudehe classifies people in six categories of financial abilities starting from the poorest to the richest in society.
“The information from Ubudehe helped us to identify the needy students easily,” she said.
Rubagumya added that they also used some of the information that was provided by the students who underwent a financial assessment. The assessment was mainly conducted in urban areas.
“We looked at the wealth declared by the students on the form and where we thought that they could have lied, we looked at the amount of school fees they paid in high school annually,” she said.
Rubagumya explained that the students who were able to pay Rwf70, 000 and above annually and those, whose parents and guardians have income of Rwf100, 000 or more were removed from the list of beneficiaries.
The Ministry of Education said the decision to scrap the bursary was meant to facilitate investment in infrastructural development at institutions of higher learning and also increase the number of students in universities.