Student grants which were introduced soon after Zimbabwe's independence were discontinued around 2006 due to cash flow challenges and replaced by a cadetship programme in 2010. Student grants collapsed as most students did not pay back to the revolving fund after completing their university studies. However, the cadetship scheme did not yield desired results as it was also dogged by funding challenges and failed to pay fees for hundreds of students, leading to failure by some to sit for examinations.
The grant and loans scheme paid full fees for students and gave them allowances to cater for other expenses such as accommodation and food. The cadetship scheme only paid tuition fees.
Students who were under the cadetship scheme were bonded for three years with Government directing tertiary institutions to issue photocopies of certificates to enable them to search for jobs. However, graduates intending to search for employment outside the country had challenges using the certified copies to secure employment.
In March 2017, Godfrey Gandawa said that Government owed tertiary institutions a substantial amount of over $27 million. He also confirmed that Government was officially phasing out the scheme to adopt the Student Loan Scheme. Said Gandawa:
We currently owe our tertiary institutions a figure of $27 024 723 for students who were on cadetship. In 2014 we received 294 000 applications from students who wanted to be considered for cadetship. Not all of them were successful. We had to go through a rigorous screening exercise from where 43 914 were considered, meaning 250 086 were unsuccessful. In that same year the amount we owed tertiary institutions initially stood at $61 030 345 and we paid $34 005 622 in January this year.
Institutions of higher learning such as National University of Science and Technology (Nust), University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Midlands State University (MSU), Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) and many other universities and colleges complained over Government’s failure to meet its assumed parental obligation of paying for the students on cadetship. In June 2017, Gandawa urged students bonded under the cadetship scheme to buy themselves out of the scheme by paying the required fees to access original copies of their certificates.
Student Loan Scheme
Speaking at the ZANU-PF annual conference held in December 2016 in Masvingo, Professor Jonathan Moyo announced that Government was reintroducing a student loan scheme which would be structured by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
Speaking at the 28th Gweru Polytechnic College Graduation and Prize Giving ceremony held in July 2017, Moyo said under the new student grants, the parent/guardian is the borrower and the student is the co-borrower of the loan. He said the payment frequency would vary depending with the borrower’s income but it can be weekly, monthly, half yearly or yearly.
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- RBZ to give students loans, Chronicle, published: February 17, 2017, retrieved: August 16, 2017
- Vincent Gono,Govt withdraws student funding: Grants financial institutions to be named: Tertiary institutions owed over $27m, Sunday News, published: MArch 28, 2017, retrieved: August 16, 2017
- Nqobile Tshili,Buy out of bonding, students urged, Chronicle, published: June 21, 2017, retrieved: August 16, 2017
- Leroy Dzenga,Students’ loans welcome but . . .Students’ loans welcome but . . ., Herald, published: December 21, 2016, retrieved: August 16, 2017
- RBZ appoints financial institutions to manage student loan facility, NewZimbabwe.com, published: June 28, 2017, retrieved: August 16, 2017
- New students grants rolled out. . . as universities are set to cut non-STEM degrees to 20pc, Sunday News, published: July 30, 2017, retrieved: August 16, 2017