The Higher Education Student Funding Board (HESFB) has announced that it considers students pursuing tourism and hospitality management programs eligible for support under the student loan scheme.
The HESFB is a statutory body established by the Higher Education Student Funding Act No. 2 of 2014 with a mandate to provide loans and scholarships to Ugandan students wishing to pursue higher education.
However, since its inception, the Council has primarily supported Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs with the exception of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) who can undertake any program of their choice under the affirmative action. These include 3,606 professionals in health and medicine, over 3,600 in engineering and technology, 2,252 in science education, over 1,000 in agriculture and over 2,000 in other natural sciences .
The Council also offered other humanities programs targeting people with disabilities, including bachelor’s degrees in speech-language pathology, bachelor’s degrees in education (special needs), and bachelor’s degrees in teacher education with special needs as part of affirmative action. .
Today, HESFB Executive Director Michael Wanyama announced that at the 30th Board Meeting held on March 31, 2022, the Tourism and Hospitality Programs were approved by the board of directors for support under the student loan program.
“The tourism and hospitality sector has been identified by successive national development plans, including the current NDP3 and Vision 2040, as one of the fundamental pillars of the Ugandan economy and key drivers of growth having the greatest multiplier effect. In the pre-pandemic season, sector growth had reached up to 7.3% of GDP and 6.3% of total employment,” Wanyama said.
With the support for training in the tourism and hospitality sector, Mr. Wanyama said Uganda as a country will be able to meet the target of contribution of tourism to total employment. from 667,600 to 1,100,000 people, as predicted by NDP III.
“After this publication, tourism and hospitality programs will be among the programs listed in the upcoming call for loan applications for AY2022/23,” he said.
Meanwhile, Uganda’s Hotel and Tourism Training Institute, Jinja, has also been allowed to participate in the scheme.
Each academic year, the HESFB preselects the students who benefit from the student loan program from the applications submitted and is granted loans to pursue their higher education.
Student loans cover student tuition, operating costs, research costs, and funds to cover aids and devices for people with disabilities. These funds go directly to higher education institutions.
At the start of the 2020/2021 academic year, the Commission granted loans to a total of 11,187 Beneficiaries (9,632 undergraduate degrees and 1,555 undergraduate degrees).
Beneficiaries study 130 degree programs and 76 undergraduate degree courses, mostly in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs.
These courses are currently valid in 22 accredited universities (10 public universities and 12 accredited private universities) and 36 other institutions of higher education (OTI) in Uganda.
Initially, student loans were strictly granted to students joining higher education institutions in their first year or to students joining their final year of study under the permanent student loan facility.
However, from the 2021/2022 academic year, continuing education students have been added to the program to benefit from the student loan program.