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Paying back your student loans pays!

Paying back your student loans pays!

By Hilya Nghiwete, Chief Executive Officer, NSFAF

Money can only be spent once. We all know this, or we come to realise it when we still have a lot of month left at the end of our money and payday seems miles away. This is the feeling we often get at Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF).

For years we have enabled aspiring students to pursue their dreams and enrol in tertiary or vocational education in Namibia or abroad.

Educating and enabling the youth of Namibia is a worthy mandate indeed, but we seem to have hit upon a rather large speed-bump.

When borrowing money from friends, family, banks or anyone really the assumption is made that this money will be paid back. Often with interest. This is what our economy is based on and how common courtesy works. If money borrowed is not repaid, it basically stops all economic processes within a country.

It actually means we can’t buy things, invest, or build anything for that matter. This does not just apply to having to pay back your car loan, the bond on your house or your cash loan. You would never dream of not paying those back.

The consequences are severe if you don’t. Just think how awkward family get togethers become if there’s one cousin who still owes half of the family money and has never paid it back. Which leads me straight into the worrying issue of the NSFAF student loans.

Former students seem to have a hard time grasping the concept of the need to pay back their loans, but also not seeing the long term damage they are inflicting. Being afforded the opportunity to study in Namibia is a great honour and with the student becoming the recipient of a study loan which they themselves requested, they have entered into a legally binding contract.

For some reason though, many former students, who have gone onto fine and noble professional employment and receive a salary for their work don’t see the necessity in paying back their student loan. This throws a spanner into the works and basically into the potential growth of Namibia.

As was stated at the start of this column, money can only be spent once. It is therefore safe to say, money can only be loaned out once as well. This means that without the repaying of the loans other worthy students cannot receive loans or grants that they deserve.

Often thereby closing off the avenue to tertiary education. This not only stunts the educational and academic development of the potential student, it also hampers the growth of Namibia. These potential students can’t pursue their academic dreams . Can’t contribute to the Namibian economy. Can’t help with the development Namibia and definitely not assist in achieving the Harambee Prosperity Plan for Namibia.

Nation building is something you do together as a nation and it starts with education. Cutting off access to education because of lack of funding is very damaging to the growth of a nation. What is even more damaging is if the access to education has been cut off because previous recipients of the loans and grants are not paying back their loans.

Therefore I urge everyone to do what’s right and take steps to repay their student loans. Not because we ask, not because you are legally bound, but because you care for Namibia and its development. It allowed you to expand your academic horizons and get the career you aspired to. Now let others have the opportunity you had.

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