Dr Mariyam Mariya, Minister of Higher Education, Labour and Skills Development. Dhauru Photo/Hussain Sunain

Govt defends funds delay for students abroad

A couple of students who have expressed concerns in the media about the delay in receiving loans have now been compensated.

9 July 2024

By Shahudha Mohamed

The Higher Education Ministry has responded to concerns raised by various quarters that the government is not depositing funds to students studying abroad under student loans.

Opposition MDP Hithadhoo South MP Ibrahim Nazil moved an emergency motion in parliament on Monday. However, the matter was thrown out of the ruling party controlled Parliament.

Nazil said in the case:

  • A large number of students studying abroad have their payments delayed or completely stopped

  • As a result, students are unable to pay their course fees and have been threatened and blacklisted by the colleges

  • Some students have not paid their rent for many days and have been ordered to vacate their accommodation

  • Some students have not even been able to afford their daily expenses and their families have to seek help from various sources

Some media outlets have even reported that the government has 'forsaken students’.

Responding to these concerns, the Higher Education Ministry carried a news item on Monday evening, in 'Sarukaaru', which carries news on the functioning of ministries.

"...the Ministry has always been committed to paying students' course fees, living allowances and other expenses on time. However, I believe that sometimes there are delays in collecting some payments. This is not new. Such situations have occurred before," the news said.

The Ministry noted that the main reasons for delayed payments are:

  • Late receipt of documents due to the Ministry 

  • Time taken to verify the details from the university or college the student is enrolled with

"When you request for one payment after the other, we are asking you to do it on time," the Minister of State for Higher Education, Dr Ahmed Nazeer told Atoll Times.

He noted that such transactions take at least seven days to process as there are many verification stages to be completed. So, in some cases, when students apply for money as the payment date gets near, there may be a delay of four or five additional days if any of the required documents are missing or incomplete, he said.

A couple of students who have expressed concerns in the media about the delay in receiving loans have now been compensated, he said.

Some media reported that the student loan disbursement was delayed due to a dollar tightness. However, Nazeer said the government's loan transactions are conducted in Maldivian Rufiyaa. Therefore, students on student loans will not face any problem of late payment, he assured.

He further noted that:

  • Dollars are only sent to students on government scholarships

  • The government will have assured the universities that there will be no problems with the payment of the students

  • Therefore, a delay in payment for any reason, whether it is due to bank delay or other circumstances, will not interfere with the student's academics

To find a sustainable solution to the problem of loan delays, the ministry is looking at ways to automate such services to students, speed up the process of verifying children's studies and increase the efficiency of services provided to them.

"... I would like to assure all students studying in Maldives and abroad that the Government of Maldives will do everything possible to ensure that nothing disrupts the education of any student. The government will always focus on building our children and increasing their contribution to rebuilding this country”, the ministry said.

The issue of delay in disbursing student loan funds due to non-completion of documents or other reasons has always been a problem.