Botswana parents may, in the near future, be required to pay part of their children’s tuition fees before they are admitted to local tertiary institutions. This follows recommendations by a consultancy that turned up waste running into millions of pula and inefficiencies in the current tertiary education financing system.
In the current financial year, (2008/9), there are more students on government sponsorship than the budget can accommodate and there are fears that the budget overrun may continue unless placement of students is strictly aligned to the budget.
A consultancy by Botswana BEST Pty/LTD has proposed a number of financial aid schemes in a bid to try and address the situation. According to their most preferred option, parents would be required to pay 50% tuition fees upfront, the other 50% is to be paid by government while 100% of all other costs ( lodging, living allowance etc) are to constitute an interest free loan to the beneficiary with a 10% discount on loan for students who complete studies on schedule.
According to the draft consultancy report, “beneficiaries who come forward to indicate that they cannot afford to pay the 50% tuition fees would be put through a means test to establish portion of fees they can afford to pay, if any. The portion that they can not afford to pay would be covered by government as a grant.”
Under the second option, government would be required to pay 100% tuition fees with 100% of all other costs constituting an interest free loan to the beneficiary at a 10% discount for students who complete their studies on schedule.
Under option 3, beneficiaries would take a 100% loan on tuition and all other costs at a 10% discount when they complete their studies on schedule. Under option 4, government would offer financial support only to students who can not afford to pay for their education.