Acceptance letter in hand, what now?
Funding can be a big elephant in the room when it comes to reaching your study goals. For those in need of financial assistance, here are some of the institutions that should be on your list of options to turn to.
12 November 2019 | Education
With the right career guidance, it is easy for scholars to pick a career path to follow and commit to. Once the choice has been made, however, and you’ve been accepted at your institution of choice, one major factor still remains to be addressed. We may have everything else thought out but often, without proper funding, those dreams are difficult to reach. Acceptance letter in hand, funding for your dreams remains an issue. Here are a few options to think through when considering funding for tertiary education, especially to guide those straight out of high school.
Namibia Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF)
This is the name on the top of everybody’s list. They are the leading financial assistance providers in the country and regularly receive funds from the government treasury to aid in funding students at accredited universities locally as well as a few outside the country. The institution mainly funds student grants, which do not need to be repaid, as well as student loans, which are to be paid off at a later stage when the student is employed. Both schemes however have a non-tuition fee which aids the student with transport, meal, accommodation as well as study material costs during their period of study, which eventually needs to be repaid. In order to apply for a NSFAF loan, an acceptance letter is required from an accredited institution of higher learning within Namibia or SADC and online applications open in November annually. Although priority is often given to fields including education, the fund makes provision for a variety of fields.
Nampower provides bursaries yearly mainly for individuals in vocational training and engineering courses. They fund both first-year as well as continuing students. Their bursary programmes are normally advertised in local newspapers in October, with 25 applicants being granted funding yearly. Other than that, the vocational training bursaries are advertised in January and a total of 20 applicants are funded yearly. Nampower funds students who have been accepted at any institution that is accredited by the Namibia Training Authority and the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA), giving priority to fitter-and-turner courses, mechanical and electrical engineering. Nampower mainly focuses on courses in the line of engineering and science according to Rachel Dax, the switchboard operator at the institution. The institution also prioritises disadvantaged individuals with five of the 25 bursary allocations being particularly for those that are disadvantaged. Nampower further provides financial aid to individuals who could not complete their studies due to reasonable circumstances. Applicants need to provide proof that they were at the particular institution or a reference letter from the institution, which needs to be attached to the application. All applications should be sent through post or hand delivered to the Nampower headquarters in Northern industrial area.
Rebekka Kahuba is normally in charge of the bursary programmes run by Namwater and shared with The Zone that the bursaries normally run between September and October. According to Kahuba, Namwater normally advertises and funds bursaries according to the staffing needs of the institution and thus the number of bursaries granted each year depends on the “request in the organisation” and can vary from five bursaries to one and thus, the fields also vary depending on that need. This year, Namwater advertised two bursaries for Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering and National Diploma in Vocational Education and Training. Kahuba added that there isn’t necessarily an application form to fill out but a list of documents including a curriculum vitae as well as acceptance letter to the institution of choice should be submitted to the Namwater head office in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial Area along with any other documents indicated on the placed advertisement.
The Sanlam bursary scheme is aimed at Namibian students studying at Namibian universities, namely University of Namibia, Namibia University of Science and Technology and International University of Management who are in their second year or above and who do not have the financial means to pay for their studies. To qualify for this, students should have a grade average of at least 70% and must be studying in the fields of accounting and finance, marketing, human resources, business administration and actuarial science. Applications for the 2020 intake will open in mid-November this year and can be submitted online or hard copy. Applying students are required to write a cover letter and attach their curriculum vitae along with their proof of registration, academic records and proof of financial need, according to Hilaria Graig, Sanlam’s communication specialist. Students who have financial assistance from another institution are not eligible for the bursary.
“Through the bursary scheme some students have found full-time employment at the company or offered internship to further prepare them for the work place,” Graig added. She clarified that that bursary students are not obligated to pursue their careers at Sanlam, but should an opportunity exist, they are considered.
The Bank Windhoek study loan is available to any student whose parent holds a Bank Windhoek Selekt account, according to Andre le Roux, the bank’s reputation risk manager. The loan repayment period is determined by the duration of studies and the student’s parent or guardian pays monthly interest during the study period. Upon completion of studies, the remaining amount on the loan is converted into a personal loan. Additionally, the bank runs a bursary scheme which funds Namibian students in their second, third and fourth year who wish to study at any recognised tertiary institution. This bursary caters for students’ registration fees, tuition, prescribed books and learning material, examination fees as well as accommodation and meals. The bursaries are advertised using the agreed media platforms of Bank Windhoek. Bursary students are then attached to various retail branches/business units/support units of the group subsidiaries as part of experiential learning during breaks and a graduate training program is in place to provide young graduates with a unique opportunity to gain valuable work experience under the guidance of senior staff. This is a two-year programme, after which graduates who meet the required competencies may be offered permanent roles in at the bank.
There are many other institutions that provide financial aid for students pursuing their tertiary education, but these are the ones that The Zone was able to reach, Other institutions include but are not limited to Old Mutual, PwC, KPMG, Bank of Namibia, Debmarine, B2Gold Namibia, First National Bank, Namport and Roads Authority.