Three hundred needy students from The Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), are failing to access their 2015/16 academic year examination results because they have outstanding fees arrears.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Polytechnic Students Union (PSU) president Frank Msiska said the students have been informed by the college’s management that their tuition fees was not paid by the Higher Education Students Loans and Grants Board (HESL&GB) as they were earlier made to believe.
He said: “The situation we have at hand is very worrisome because it is critical that the students access their end of year results to see if they have passed or have got supplementary examinations to write.
“In a situation where a student did not do well in their examinations and need to write a supplementary exam, but has failed to access results on time to see if indeed there is that need, it means they will either repeat or face withdrawal.”
However, Msiska said PSU is engaging the college’s management to see if the students can be allowed to access the results and have their outstanding fees issue sorted out at a later date.
Commenting on the K89 million the union raised during a fundraising dinner organised in April to raise funds for the 300 needy students, Msiska said the union opened an account—Polytechnic Students Welfare—with FDH Bank where the funds were deposited.
He said the college’s needy students have since been requested to apply to access a loan from the funds.
The Polytechnic dean of students Luciano Ndalama also confirmed that the students are being denied access to their end of year examination results over unsettled fees because HESL&GB has not released the money to the college yet.
Ironically, some of the affected students either withdrew or were at risk of withdrawing from college in April this year due to financial constraints, but they were saved after government committed additional resources to HESL&GB the following month.
In May this year, the loans board said 10 355 students applied to access the loans in 2015/16 financial year and that after the screening process, 7 000 applicants were identified as needy and deserving. The board said using 85 percent of K1.25 billion available funds, 4 662 were given the loans.