Banks step up scholarship budgets as demand soars

Wings to Fly

Wings to Fly beneficiaries.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Top banks including Equity, KCB and Cooperative Bank have stepped up education scholarships on soaring demand and prevailing economic hardships.

The lenders, with backing from institutions such as Mastercard, Ford Foundation and MoneyGram, are scaling up funding of needy students in secondary schools and colleges as part of sustainability programmes.

The multi-billion-shilling scholarship programmes that covers tuition and upkeep costs have come on the back of increased number of applicants as parents battle with economic hardships.

KCB, which in 2021 enriched its scholarship with a Sh1,000 monthly stipend and Sh2,000 back-to-school transport expense for 1,070 of the High School scholarship beneficiaries, is this year expected to step up the scholarships.

The lender in 2021 launched the inaugural university scholarships by supporting 49 students and is increasing the slots thanks to the partnership with Mastercard Foundation. Over Sh131 million will be spend in high school sponsorship in under 10 years.

KCB now picks the best 50 performers from the high school programme for the university scholarship that caters for their tuition costs in any public university in Kenya.

Countries such as Burundi and South Sudan are also now in the picture as the KCB Foundation seeks to extend its impact beyond Kenya.

Cooperative Bank of Kenya and Equity Group, through their foundations, are also stepping up their scholarships for secondary school and university level this year. Since inception, Co-op Foundation has spent over Sh1.5 billion to support over 8,500 learners in high school, universities, colleges and vocational institutions.

Co-op Bank Foundation has this year granted over 650 full secondary school scholarships to students who will be joining secondary schools from February 6. This has taken the total beneficiates to above 9,000 since inception.

Another set of learners will be picked from the applicants who will be joining universities and colleges following the release of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams last week. This will take the number of university students under the Co-op Foundation above 500 since its launch in 2007.

Cooperative Bank head of Rift Valley region Ronald Yegon, was last week in Nakuru county where he met governor Susan Kihika to discuss partnership areas beyond education.

Equity Group Foundation, through its Wings to Fly programme and the government’s Elimu Scholarship, has offered over 17,000 scholarships to over 48,000 beneficiaries.

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