Rwanda has established a “right to appeal” procedure for students whose application to government scholarship loan are rejected, a process which will allow some cases to be reviewed.
The appeal process was published last week under a Special Gazette of 05/01/2023.
Every academic year, the government through Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) gives study loan to applicants willing to further their studies.
In many instances, applications are rejected for several reasons including; improper applications, interests on specific courses and shortage of fund.
“The applicant whose application for a study loan was not granted has a right to appeal against the decision to the Institution within a period of 15 calendar days from the date of publication of the list of beneficiaries of the study loan,” Official Gazette n° Special of 05/01/2023 reads.
“The Institution decides on an applicant’s appeal whose study loan has not been granted and notifies the appellant within 15 calendar days from the day of receipt of the appeal,” the Gazette also reads.
It also says that a learner on the list of admission in public, Government-subsidized or foreign institutions of higher learning has a right to apply for a study loan from the institution.
To appeal, the applicant fills in an appeal application form provided by the Institution.
The Government, through BRD, may grant to a learner a study loan to enable him or her to pursue studies in a public, Government subsidized or foreign higher learning institution, based on an agreement signed between the learner and the financial institution.
However, to determine a learner beneficiary of a study loan, the institution considers the following criteria; to be on the list of admitted learners in public, government-subsidized or foreign institution of higher learning, to have filled a study loan application form, and to have required marks as a basis to qualify for study loan for that year.
This study loan covers tuition fees, living expenses, research fees for a graduate or a postgraduate, information and communication technologies materials necessary for learning, and any other academic expenses that may be determined and approved by the institution.
However, transport fees, luggage fees, health insurance costs and any other emergency allocated to a loan beneficiary studying in a higher learning institution abroad, are not repaid.
A study loan beneficiary repays it with a simple interest, compared to other types of interest that goes up to 20%, and it is calculated only once on the total loan amount received.
It includes 11% for undergraduate students and 12% for postgraduate students (Masters and PhD).
The scheme (study loan) enables students to pay for a college education. However, BRD claims graduates have refused to repay, even after they have been employed by both government and private institutions.
The repayment period for loans up to Rwf2.5 million cannot exceed two years, and repayment may be made in monthly or quarterly installments.
The payback period for loans between Rwf2.5 million and Rwf5 million cannot be longer than three years, and repayment can be made in monthly or quarterly payments.
According to BRD, loan amounts between Rwf5 million and Rwf7.5 million have a maximum repayment period of five years, during which time payments may be made in monthly or quarterly installment; loan amounts between Rwf7.5 million and Rwf10 million have a maximum repayment period of six years, during which time payments may be made in either monthly or quarterly installments.
The repayment period cannot exceed seven years for loans between Rwf10 million and Rwf15 million, and repayment may be made in monthly or quarterly installments for loans between Rwf15 million and Rwf18 million.
The repayment period cannot exceed eight years for loans between Rwf10 million and Rwf18 million.
According to the new ministerial regulations, monthly or quarterly payments may be used for loans with values greater than Rwf18 million. Repayment terms cannot exceed 10 years.
However, thousands have defaulted after graduating and getting jobs.
For example, by mid-last year, the BRD had recovered only Rwf24.4 billion out of the total disbursement of Rwf221.85 billion.
The number of loan beneficiaries was 139,925 whereas only 18,626 had paid back the loan, which represents just 13.3%.