LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-At least 30 first year students in the constituent colleges of the University of Malawi (UNIMA) and other public universities risk being booted out because they have not paid tuition fees and lack upkeep allowances.
The situation has prompted the Parents Association for University of Malawi Students (PAUS) to kickstart initiatives of raising MK15 million in order to support the 30 students and several others that are needy as well.
PAUS Chairperson, Paul Chikwekwe, said the students are in situations where either the Higher Education Students Loans and Grants Board has not yet approved their loans or has not yet disbursed their loans or has not considered their loan applications.
He added that the students, already coming from poor families or orphaned, are struggling and miserable considering that some of them must also rent homes to operate from as they go to their colleges.
“We are appealing to corporate institutions, organisations and individuals to support these students so that their intelligence is not wasted when their colleges decide to drop them.
“As a nation we must invest in children such as these if we are to be sure enough of a better future,” said Chikwekwe after a fundraising big walk his association held in the Capital Lilongwe.
He said the big walk, which attracted concerned parents and students currently being assisted through PAUS, was a success because people were generous and understanding their noble cause.
Chikwekwe added that his association will continue fundraising for university students because even if the Higher Education Students Loans and Grants Board approves their loans, the upkeep allowance is too meagre to sustain them throughout an academic year.
According to Chikwekwe, the board provides only Mk200,000 upkeep allowance to a student in a year.
Yet some of the students must rent homes in the ranges of MK20,000 to MK30,000 per month and buy their own food.
PAUS exists to ensure that university students are not dropped out of their colleges because of lack of fees and upkeep allowance.