The Higher Education Students’ Loans and Grants Board (HESLGB) has collected about K357 million in loan repayments from former beneficiaries of the university loan scheme.
HESLGB executive director Chris Chisoni said in an interview yesterday that the figure, as of December 31 2017, represents a 100 percent upward improvement in the loan collection exercise from March 2017.
The improvement has been attributed to cooperation between the board and employers–both in the private and public sector, whom they wrote to help them facilitate the quick repayment of the loans from employees who benefitted from the loan scheme dating back to 1985.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Chisoni expressed optimism that the board will meet its target for the 2017/18 financial year of collecting an estimated K300 million as they have done halfway.
He said: “There has been a large mindset change from both employees and employers as they have been turning up in their large numbers to make the payments. Our recoveries have improved due to such changes and the cooperation with employers.
“Then on the other hand, if employees may wish to make once-off payments on their own then it is okay because some of the loans are not much. And if they want the employers to carry on deducting the payments through their salaries, it is fine as well.”
The HESLGB Act mandates employers to provide information on their graduate employees which permits the board to easily trace beneficiaries of the loan scheme.
In November, the board engaged employers by writing them to help facilitate the recoveries through direct salary deductions.
In the 2017/18 academic year, the loans board has given out K4 billion in loans and grants that will benefit 9 317 students out of 12 186 applications it received from both public and private universities.
In an earlier statement, HESLGB board chairperson Chimwemwe Chipungu said the K4 billion disbursement represents a 33 percent increment from a K3 billion allocation in 2016. n