Away from home: Delay in funds spells uncertainty for University of Peshawar scholarship students

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Several deserving students who have been awarded scholarships to study abroad by the University of Peshawar (UoP) have been facing immense problems due to a delay in the payment of students’ dues and monthly stipends.

A lecturer at the university’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Amir Hamza Bangash is pursuing his PhD in Journalism Studies from the University of Sheffield, UK since September 2011. He, however, complained his annual tuition fee and monthly stipend have been repeatedly delayed.

According to Bangash, his annual tuition fee is around £14,500 while his monthly stipend is almost $1,200, both of which are paid after every six months. He said his annual fee is due since September 2013 whereas he has not received any amount under the stipend for March 2014.

“My father has passed away and my mother, being a housewife, cannot support my education. In the absence of the monthly stipend, I and other scholarship students are forced to borrow money from people,” said Bangash.

Bangash said his PhD will take till September next year, but Sheffield University will only let him study till a certain point before he is kicked out for being unable to pay the fees. He shared he has already written several letters explaining his position to the university and hopes UoP will disburse the money soon.

Bangash told The Express Tribune the payments are routinely delayed by UoP, adding most of the time his library and computer cards are blocked as a result. He said he has recently borrowed a large sum from colleagues since he is short of money and it is hard for him to meet daily expenses.

When asked, Bangash said he contacted UoP and was told the varsity has applied to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for a foreign exchange quota which is yet to be approved even after a lapse of around two months.

A former student who completed his PhD abroad on a scholarship from January 2009 to February 2012 said, “Every scholar who is sent abroad has to go through this hassle. It happened to me as well and no one at UoP cares about our suffering.”

When contacted, officials from UoP’s planning and development department said the university has sent the students from its own funds which are now running short, adding it now depends on the approval of the quota by HEC which, when approved, will solve the students’ problems.

“I have talked to Bangash and am sure he will receive the amount soon. I am also talking to the treasury department so the process is expedited,” said a UoP official wishing not to be named.

Source: The Express Tribune.