The Chairman of the Vice-Chancellor Endowment Fund (VCEF), Fundraising Committee of the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA), Dr. Albert Martins, has revealed that about 1,300 students eligible for enrolment are unable to do so annually because of financial constraints.
Additionally, about 300 students defer their studies at UPSA every year, and still a number of students drop out before they complete the final year of their programme – all owing to financial difficulties.
For this reason, the chairman is urging corporate organisations, donor support agencies, and benevolent individuals to support the VCEF to ensure these categories of people are helped.
He further appealed to other staff unions, as well as benevolent members of the university community to contribute their widow’s mite toward the fund.
Dr. Albert Martins made these remarks when senior hall tutors of UPSA and the interim executives of the Junior Common Room (JCR) made a donation of GH₵10,000 to support the activities of the VCEF.
Dr. Gladys Nabieu, the Hall Tutor for Yaa Asantewaa Hall, making the presentation on behalf of the two groups, stated that the gesture was to augment the Vice-Chancellor’s effort to expand access to university education by enabling bright and needy students to receive undergraduate education at UPSA.
She noted that the establishment of the VCEF has over the years provided a strong financial backbone for outstanding students who would have otherwise dropped out of school due to dire financial needs.
“As important stakeholders of the University Community, we deem it appropriate to support the VCEF to fulfill its mandate just as we have done over the past four years,” Dr. Nabieu said.
It would be recalled that on the 19th of October, 2017, the VC of UPSA, Prof. Abednego F.O. Amartey, launched a GH₵100million endowment fund to help indigent students to fund their education at the university.
According to management, the VCEF investment fund receives more than 1,450 applications for financial aid every year from students. The VCEF, therefore, aims to raise GH₵100,000,000 in the first five years to be invested and distributed to qualifying students.
Since its inception, several scholarships have been awarded to students pursuing various programmes at different levels of education in the university annually, with some already graduating.
The introduction of the government’s new ‘no guarantor loans’ for students who apply for loans from the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) is believed to mitigate some of these challenges faced by students coming from poor backgrounds, but challenges such as delay in disbursement of the fund and inadequate funds are also believed to be an impediment.
Therefore, the VCEF will for a long time continue to play a key role in supporting students.