Chairman of NSTB Collin Natonga said students tuition fees will be paid through the normal procedure whereby payments are executed upon receiving an invoice from institutions.

The tuition fees of Vanuatu scholarship students studying at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Vanuatu and abroad will be paid once the National Scholarship Office receives invoices from the USP’s regional campuses.

The National Scholarship and Training Board (NSTB) said this in a statement issued yesterday.

Students in Fiji have echoed their concerns on social media about the possibility of having their accounts deactivated by USP if tuition fees are not paid on time.

Some students have been informed that their accounts will be deactivated this Friday (April 16) if they owe USP outstanding fees and have not sign an instalment agreement with the Student Finance Section.

Having accounts deactivated means students will not have access to Moodle or other facilities, and cannot sit exams, or submit other assessment items.

The National Scholarship Office stated it is liaising with the USP’s regional campuses over the tuition fees.

The statement reads: “Vanuatu Scholarship Office is working with USP Laucala Campus, USP Alafua Campus and USP Emalus Campus to sort out the tuition fees for the Vanuatu Government sponsored students and the Vanuatu National Provident Fund-Members Education Support Scheme.

“The tuition fees are due on April 23, 2021.

“Vanuatu Scholarship Office awaits the invoices from the regional institutions.

“Once the office receives the invoices, the payments will be executed through their accounts.

“This is an administrative issue in our part regarding the billing of tuition fees. Students that have been notified with their student invoice statement should contact the Scholarship Office.

“Institutions that have provided their invoices to the Scholarship Office have been paid.

“The NSTB will be dealing with the misleading information circulated through social media and individuals involved with authorities concerned.”

Meanwhile, the General Manager (GM) of VNPF, Parmod Achary, said USP has given another month for VNPF to sort out payments.

He said they are waiting on USP to give invoice for them to make payments.

Accommodation payments for students studying under MESS are also being sorted out and students are requested to submit tenancy agreements.

President of the MESS students in Fiji, Atis Melio, said students are encouraged to keep focusing on studies while waiting for the sponsors to sort out not only tuition fees, but also their accommodation payments.

Students have received warnings from landlords for outstanding rent payments but have not been evicted, according to Mr Melio.

Regarding ongoing concerns of allowances, the NSTB said most of the MESS students have already received their allowances.

Students still having issues should contact the scholarship office.

The number of Vanuatu students undertaking scholarship studies stands at 1,540. Almost 800 students are fully government funded while the rest are sponsored through MESS.

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