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Unima students welcome upkeep increment

By Elia Chinwe & Sellah Chunda

Lilongwe, March 27: Students at the University of Malawi (Unima) have welcomed the recent upkeep increment in public universities, expressing their satisfaction with the adjustment from K350,000 to K560,000.

The news, announced by the Minister of Finance, has been met with enthusiasm, as students believe it will enhance the academic environment and alleviate the challenges they previously faced.

In a memo released on Wednesday by the Students Representative Council (SRC), students expressed their gratitude to the current government for its commitment towards improving the welfare of students in public universities.

President of the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences Representative Council, who is also president of the Malawi Public Universities Student’s Union (MAPUSU), Gershom Nyirenda said the upkeep increment will assist needy students with their basic needs and enhance their academic pursuits.

“The increment will be of paramount help to students nationwide, enabling them to afford their daily basic needs while pursuing their education. It will mitigate various challenges that students face along their academic journey,” said Nyirenda.

In his remarks, SRC President Elia Mwalwanda praised President Lazarus Chakwera for considering their request, which was submitted in February 2024.

“We are excited because the number of students who may have had to withdraw due to financial constraints will decrease. Many students reside off-campus where rentals are often expensive, so, with this increment, students will be better equipped to sustain themselves,” said Mwalwanda.

Communication Manager for the Higher Education Students’ Loans and Grants Board, Millie Kafuka Kasunda, emphasised the importance of the upkeep allowance in universities, stating that it plays a crucial role in meeting students’ basic needs, such as accommodation, stationery, and food.

Kasunda encouraged all needy students to apply for loans, whether they are continuing students or first-year entrants selected by the National Council for Higher Education. The application period for loans is in May 2024.

Kasunda highlighted that the financial year 2024/2025 aims to provide loans to at least 30,000 students.

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