With the loan scheme, students pursuing arts-related courses will now be able to join universities such as Makerere
At least four arts-related degree courses are now eligible for funding support under the students’ loan scheme.
The loan scheme was set up to support highly qualified, but underprivileged students to join university in a bid to increase equitable access to education and ensure regional balance in higher education.
Established in 2014, the programme initially targeted to students pursuing science-related courses at selected universities and tertiary institutions.
Michael Wamyama, the executive director of the Higher Education Students Financing Board (HESFB), a body that manages the loan scheme, said a few arts courses were now eligible under affirmative action.
The courses include social sciences, law, psychology and education, all at undergraduate level. The board has also agreed to support students pursuing a bachelors’ degree in special needs.
“We chose the courses based on guidance from the National Planning Authority, which identified programmes that are critical to addressing our human resource gaps,” Wanyama told New Vision.
Last week, a total of 1,460 students were selected to pursue degree and diploma programmes at universities and tertiary institutions under the student’ loan scheme this year.
It is the fourth cohort of beneficiaries since the start of the loan scheme. The loans cover tuition fees, functional fees and research fees, as well as aids and appliances for persons with disabilities.
For the first time since its inception, students with disabilities (13) will benefit from the scheme to study law and education at undergraduate level.
The demand for student loans is overwhelming as the budget remains small compared with the number of applicants. The scheme started in 2014 with a sh6b budget, which has now been increased to sh23.3b.
Over the last four years, a total of 14,506 candidates have applied for student loans and only 5,259 have been selected. This year, a total of 4,218 applied for the loans but hardly one third went through.
The loans cover tuition fees, functional fees and research fees, as well as aids and appliances for persons with disabilities.
Beneficiaries have a one-year grace period after leaving school before they are required to start repaying the loans to government.