Shifting from government bursaries to a loan scheme in higher education: exploring the Zambian experience in student financial aid.

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Masaiti, Gift
Mwelwa, Kapambwe
Mwale, Nelly
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International Journal of African Higher Education
One of the current critical issues in higher education in Africa and globally is about making student loans available in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. The argument is more complicated for Africa because of the complexities associated with loan schemes and the general austerity that African countries find themselves in. This article presents a case study and conceptualizes the scenario of shifting government bursaries to a student loan scheme in Zambia’s higher education sector. Based on student views (N=729) and international experience, the article presents student reactions to the announcement of the implementation of the loan scheme in Zambia. Other issues explored in detail include cost-effectiveness and sustainability, loan conditionalities and forms of assistance to poor students. The article also highlights, and provokes policymakers with, questions on student loan schemes based on international experience. These are related to the modalities of who bears the ultimate risks; when and how to make the recoveries; and difficulties associated with “means testing” for would-be beneficiaries. The article uses quantitative methodological perspectives, in which “descriptive statistics” and “factor analysis” are employed. The major finding is that Zambian students are not opposed to the introduction of the student loan scheme, instead they see it as a cost-effective way of assisting students from a vulnerable background. The article strongly recommends exploring in detail the situation in other countries, so that all strengths and weaknesses are identified and carefully considered, before implementing the scheme
Student loan scheme. , Higher education--Cost sharing--Zambia. , Government bursaries. , Education--Financing--Zambia.
Masaiti, G. Mwelwa, K & Mwale, N. (2016). Shifting from Government Bursaries to a Loan Scheme in Higher Education: Exploring Zambian Experience in Student Financial Aid, International Journal of African Higher Education -IJAHE: 2(2), PP. 56-71.