Jayapura, Jubi – A number of Papuan students who participate in the scholarship programs have not yet received payment of tuition fees and living expenses as of Thursday, January 5, 2023. The students are currently studying in the United States, Russia, New Zealand and Indonesia. Some scholarship recipients have been working or use personal funds to pay for their education.
Chairman of the Papuan Scholarship Student Parents Representative Association, Nerius Eli Ayomi, said that there were at least 17 Papuan students who have not received living expenses from the Papua Human Resources Development Agency (BPSDM), 16 of which are studying in the United States and one in New Zealand.
According to Ayomi, there are 15 undergraduate students and two graduate students. The total value of living expenses that have not been paid by BPSDM Papua to the 17 students from January to September 2022 is USD 227,000.
Ayomi said some students had to live in their friends' apartments, and some had to survive by relying on an allowance from their parents. He said his party was trying to meet with BPSDM Papua to discuss the matter. "We plan to meet next Monday, on January 9," he said.
Similar problems are also experienced by Papuan scholarship recipients studying in Russia. Chairman of the Papuan Student Association in Russia Yosep Iyai said that three of the 15 Papuan students in Russia have also not received money for tuition fees and living expenses.
Iyai said the unpaid tuition fees and living expenses were from September to December 2022, with the value of Rp 10 and 16 million per month.
"Usually Rp 16 million for the students handled by BPSDM. And those handled by the Papua Language Institute are given Rp 10 million per month," Iyai told Jubi on Thursday.
Iyai admitted that sometimes scholarship payments did not run smoothly so that Papuan students in Russia had to work to cover living expenses.
"We Papuan students in Russia do not always receive our scholarship money regularly. Some are delayed so that we have to communicate with BPSDM for weeks before it is disbursed. Therefore, we work. If we don't work, we may drop out of college and return to Papua," he said.
One of the parents of the students, Trisna Mara, said that her daughter, Hesty Mara, had not received living expenses from January to December 2022. Hesty has been studying undergraduate psychology at the Ohio State University in the United States since January 2021.
Trisna admitted that she had to find her own way to meet her child's living expenses in the United States. According to her, oftentimes Hesty only eats once a day. "To save money, she only eats once a day," Trisna told Jubi on Thursday.
One of the students, Senalince "Lince" Mara, admitted that she had not been paid tuition fees and living expenses by BPSDM Papua from January to December 2022. Lince is currently pursuing a doctoral study in Civic Education at the Indonesian Education University, West Java. "Tuition fees and living expenses have not been paid," Lince told Jubi on Thursday.
Lince said she had to use her personal money to pay tuition fees and meet living expenses. She said she had reported the problem by bringing her complete student documents to BPSDM but until now, the BPSDM Papua has yet to send her the money.
Head of the BPSDM Papua Aryoko Rumaropen told Jubi on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, that there were indeed tuition fees and living expenses for Papuan scholarship recipients that had not been paid because the budget had run out. "The budget has run out," Rumaropen told Jubi. (*)