AS the first semester of 2021/22 begins, Africa University has awarded close to US$1,3 million in scholarships and financial aid to students in need. Six hundred students from 20 countries received the much-needed assistance which helps tremendously in ensuring that they remain on track to realising their academic goals.
Through engaging like-minded partners, donors and friends of the university funds are raised annually to allow more students an opportunity at higher education and further study.
The nature of aid provided to students is determined by their need and ranges from meal allowances, tuition fees, technology assistance (which has become more important since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of online study) and personal upkeep allowances.
Partners such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe, OSISA, Mastercard Foundation, Arise Africa, Chadiza, Family Legacy, Bishops and Conferences of the United Methodist Church and dedicated families and individuals make up some of the incredible donors who complement Africa University’s efforts to make education as accessible as possible to Africans from all walks of life.
Education levels across Africa have improved considerably in the last decade with more students completing secondary education and qualifying to enter universities around the continent and overseas, however, the cost associated with university education even at subsidised rates, is still beyond the reach of many.
In South Africa for instance, nearly half of university students drop out in their first year of study due to issues ranging from financial stresses, lack of academic support and struggles with integration according to Inyathelo: The South African Institute of Advancement.
Africa University has made great strides in maintaining its admission rate with student retention forming the basis of the development of its student support infrastructure from cultural integration, psychosocial support, mentorship through to financial aid.
This holistic approach has seen the institution maintain a student retention rate of nearly 90% and a student success rate of 95% making Africa University stand out in the higher education sector.
Glenia Dias (Angola), an Educational Leadership and Management Masters student, who is currently doing her first year of Intensive English said of the support she received: “I am so deeply humbled by the opportunity that has been given to me.
“It has opened doors and allowed me to live my dream of attaining a Masters qualification.
“The belief in what I can achieve not only for myself but for my family and my community gives me that extra push to work harder and use the skills I shall be equipped with to respond to the social issues in my country.”
Affirming the purpose of Africa University and its steadfast commitment to making higher education accessible, Amos Shikunzi Mwandu from Malawi, who is studying for a bachelor of science in agrobusiness management said: “I was stranded on how to reach my goals in life due to financial challenges which could make me fail to pursue my education in higher learning institutions in Malawi until Africa University came into my life and created a path to my destiny by giving me a scholarship.
“Africa University has resurrected all hope which I had lost so that I will be able to do great in the world.
“I am no longer the same but full of potential to fulfil my dreams through the education offered by Africa University, proving that it is, indeed, the valley of dreams.”
Medical laboratory science student Rumbidzai Sachiti said: “My scholarship award has allowed me to experience the spirit of pan-Africanism and a growth in leadership which I would not have experienced anywhere else; for that I am grateful.”