Funding Higher Education in Rwanda through Loans or Grants: efficiency and equity arguments

Alphonse Semugaza


This research note describes a proposed study which aims to examine the issue of how
higher education in Rwanda might be funded. The amount the government spends on one
student at university equals that of 150 students in a primary school. Research carried out in
other countries suggests that loans are more effective, and equitable, as a form of financial
aid. The implications of this, for the Rwandan context are discussed.

Abstract: This research note describes the background to and plans for, a study to
examine whether, in the context of higher education in Rwanda, the provision of loans,
instead of grants/scholarships as a means of financial support to students in university, is
likely to enhance equity and efficiency. It also aims to examine whether the current
system is effective in meeting the manpower and employment needs of Rwanda. The
participants of the proposed study include Rectors, Vice-Rectors, and student leaders in
public and private universities: participant perceptions will be collected through
questionnaires and interviews. Those interviewed will also include the Minister of Finance
and Education. Quantitative methods will also be used to analyse the relative efficiency of
loans compared to scholarships. It is hoped that the results of the study will indicate
whether loans are a more efficient and equitable financing method compared to

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