No debts to be written off for NUST and UNAM graduating students

Martin Endjala

Students graduating this year from Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the University of Namibia (UNAM), should settle their debts to obtain their qualifications.

This was confirmed by the two institutions.

NUST spokesperson, John Haufiku yesterday told this publication that the institution held a meeting last week Friday, to discuss the student debt matter.

He clarified that management agreed that all students who owe the institution will be required to pay off all their outstanding debts. He refuted circulated information that debts will be written off and added that such information is untrue.

“The debts aren’t being forgiven. Students will be allowed to sit for exams but they will still need to meet their financial obligations,” said Haufiku.

A notice from NUST’s office of the Registrar seen by the Windhoek Observer, states that students will be allowed to attend the graduation ceremony, including those with outstanding fees.

“No certificates or academic record will, however, be issued to graduates with outstanding fees,” reads the notice.

The NUST graduation ceremony is slated for 25 and 26 April.

UNAM’s spokesperson, Simon Namesho explained that students owing the institution whether funded by the government or paying for themselves, are all required to pay off their debts.

“UNAM students are allowed to register and continue with their studies while paying off their debts, however, when they fail to do so, they will not be able to obtain their qualifications or academic records after they complete their studies until they pay off what is due to the institution,” he said.

Namesho urged students to approach the registrar and make payment arrangements well in advance to alleviate their debts on time and to avoid the disappointment of not receiving their qualifications upon graduating.

On Wednesday, about 4,400 students from UNAM graduated.

UNAM students’ debts in 2023 stood at N$617 million.

In March, student representatives at the UNAM Rundu Campus demanded that the institution release students’ academic records despite the debts.

One of the affected graduates, Joseph Kazangile, said the debts are mainly accumulated by self-funded students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“What happened in the previous year, when a student completes their course with an institution of higher learning such as Unam, you get a status or annual results indicating you have obtained a degree if you have not, then it shows you have failed.

But unlike the previous year, what happened this year is something that has shocked us which resulted in us writing a lot of letters to the university after receiving calls from other students to understand and seek clarity why it is happening like this,” said Kazangile.

He said this year in the beginning they learned that there was a notice indicating that there were outstanding fees students needed to pay, which was very shocking to them, thereby suggesting that Unam should allow students to obtain their academic records.

This was confirmed by both NUST and UNAM yesterday, following information circulating that NUST is in discussions to write off graduates’ debts.

According to a source who prefers anonymity, NUST top management members held a meeting last week, to discuss the writing off debts of students who are graduating this year, but owe the university.

The source said that during the meeting, one of the members suggested the writing off of debts, which was agreed upon verbally but it was not put on paper nor circulated to the rest of the university.

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