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Govt awards 2,950 needy students study loans

The Higher Education Students’ Financing Board (HESFB) has today awarded loans to at least 2,950 needy but brilliant students to pursue diploma and undergraduate courses this academic year 2018/19.

This is the fifth cohort of beneficiaries since inception of the student loan scheme in 2014. Speaking at the Uganda Media Centre, HESFB chairperson Prof Callisto Locheng said all applicants were subjected to a uniform score card which considers proxy indicators to arrive at the lending decision.

“The board took into consideration regional balance, gender, social economic status and equity in accordance with the HESFB Act of 2014 while selecting beneficiaries,” Locheng said.

With the loans, students can study at universities such as Makerere

The number of beneficiaries moved from 1,448 in 2017/18 to 2,950 in 2018/19 representing an increase of 103 per cent. Of the 2,950 beneficiaries, 2,459 will undertake undergraduate courses and 491 diplomas.

Like the previous years, more males 2,158 (73 per cent) have got loans this year compared to females 792 (27 per cent). Some 4,603 students applied for the loans with females constituting only 961.

Loceng said the board continued to award loans to 31 persons with disabilities (PWDs) on affirmative action to pursue humanity courses.

Of these, 20 are male and 11 female. HESFB has continued to register low participation rates from northeastern Uganda notably in districts of Moroto and Nakapiripirit which did not have applicants. This academic year, the board received the very first loan applicant from Amudat, a female who has been considered. 

The board called for loan applications on May 23 and the deadline was first set for July 20 before extending it to July 27 for undergraduates and August 10 for diploma applicants. According to Loceng, this was meant to give a chance to students who received admission letters late to apply for the loans.

Student loans cover their tuition, functional and research fees; aids and appliances for PWDs all payable directly to institutions. The state minister for Higher Education, Dr John C. Muyingo, said government has increased funding to the board due to the overwhelming number of applicants in quest for higher education.

“The good news this year 2018/19 is that government has increased the HESFB budget to Shs 27.7bn to support 2,950 beneficiaries in addition to 3,496 other continuing students under the scheme,” Muyingo said.

He urged beneficiaries to take their studies seriously and finish in time with excellent grades.


In line with the 2014 HESFB Act, an applicant must be a Uganda, needy, brilliant and admitted for an accredited course or programme at any chartered institution of higher learning. HESFB executive director Micheal Wanyama said the selection process for applicants has remained transparent.

“The selection criterion is very robust and targets the poorest students. We use an ICT based score card that ensures no human interference in the process,” Wanyama said adding that they continue to receive applications who do not meet the eligibility criteria.

This year, the board rejected 892 applicants for reasons such as being continuing students yet loans cater for first year students, incomplete loan application forms, master’s degree and certificate course applicants while others applied in non-accredited higher learning institutions.

Muyingo said at least 1,751 students have completed their studies and are out in the field; some are working while others are still seeking employment.

The board has given them a grace period of one year but also encourages early repayment in case one can afford. Of the 1,751, some 628 students have completed the grace period and expected to start repayment.

“These are loans and must be repaid back to create a revolving fund for other needy people to benefit,” Muyingo said, urging beneficiaries who are not yet employed to engage the loan board on a repayment plan.


There has been an increase in the number of participating chartered universities from 18 to 20 while approved Other Tertiary Institutions have moved from 33 to 36 this year.

The chartered universities participating in the financing scheme are; Makerere, Kyambogo, Busitema, Gulu, Muni, Kabale, MUST, Lira, Soroti, MUBS, Ndejje, Nkumba, Uganda Martyrs University, UCU, Bugema, IUIU, KIU, Bishop Stuart, Kampala University and Mountain of the Moon University.

Kyambogo registered the highest number of beneficiaries at 564. It is followed by Makerere (476), Ndejje (375), KIU (248), and Busitema with 208.

HESFB also approved undergraduate programmes from 76 in 2017/18 to 126 in 2018/19 including five courses in humanities for PWDs.

The affirmative courses for PWDs are; Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Arts with Education, Bachelor of Social Sciences, Bachelor of Psychology and Bachelor of Finance. Diploma programmes were also increased from 63 to 71 programmes in areas of Science and Technology.

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+2 #1 Phalanch 2018-09-14 01:18
"2,950 needy students given study loans " ?????

This is a deliberate act aimed at silencing off Makerere or they cld as well be part of the regime, However

If these are ordinary students receiving this loan with a hope of paying back later it's huge mistake, with millions of graduates outside of whom this very regime has turned into liabilities rather than assets roaming the streets looking for jobs.

If not all , many of them may end up in jail in the end.
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+3 #2 kabayekka 2018-09-14 02:37
It is all academic window dressing. Is it in the unproductive military institution of Uganda, that these graduates are going to get high paying jobs so that they are able to pay back these educational loans?
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+4 #3 alex erejo 2018-09-14 12:44
The rich study on government and state house scholarship and the poor on loans. A crazy nation.
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+1 #4 Kelly 2018-09-14 12:54
My biggest pain as a consistent tax payer and law abiding citizen is that before long, the scheme will be subject to another useless commission of inquiry for misuse and abuse and the officials will as usual "apologize" for the "oversights" (don't forget that these oversights are always intentional because they are glaring from the beginning").

Then there is the case of some "needy" students from well connected families getting to "lucrative courses" while their counterparts from Adjumani, Sironko, Zombo, Mayuge are doing diplomas and lousy courses.

The whole scheme is another avenue of entrenching the dominance over the wretched of the earth.
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