Higher Education Loans Board trap

By Ivy Aseka | Thursday, Feb 28th 2019 at 09:04
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If you went through a public university, chances are that you took a loan. One that you will spend years trying to service.

Back in the day when we were young and impressionable, the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) was talked about in glowing terms, the way one would speak of someone they are close to or in love with.

It seemed as if students were encouraged to work hard so that they could get Helb, not degrees. No one even called it by its name, a loan that would follow the recipient to the end of times.

A loan whose name keeps popping up, returning every so often like an untreated sexually transmitted infection. As application forms are filled, one is encouraged to make up all the lies that would make their case come across as the most genuine and needy.

Never mind that those parents and guardians breathing down your neck will not be there as the government collects its dues while promising fire and hell if you do not pay.

The money, like any money that one has not worked for, comes late and goes as soon as it is received. If your school is in a village where student leaders are more concerned with how many people they bed as opposed to tending to your needs, you will receive your disbursement when the fee-paying deadline is long past due.

If your school has no decency to provide a functional academic calendar, you will receive that money while on holiday, a year before you need the money. When the notification blinks on your phone, ideas on what to do with the money pop up as well.

Suddenly, your phone becomes too small or too old. Your clothes lose their trendiness. Your taste buds become wildly expensive and your thirst for worldly objects becomes insatiable.

Your friends suddenly come with needs that only money can solve and your girlfriend keeps dropping hints about a trip they have always wanted to go on.

Before you think of sending some money to your mother, you realise that it has all been spent in places you never wanted to be, with people you did not want to be with, doing things you did not want to do.

None of this will matter when you receive that text from Helb, congratulating you for completing higher education, and reminding you to pay up.

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