60,000 students to be locked out of study loans

The waiting area at the Helb offices in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO |

What you need to know:

  • Agency allocated Sh7.5bn this financial year.
  • Amount agency receives is insufficient to support needy Kenyans who seek to join universities, says board official.

About 60,000 students who sat the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination last year will be locked out of government study loans.

The Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) on Tuesday said it would only finance about 34,000 students out of the 100,000 who are eligible for the funds.

Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera said the 34,000 will be chosen on the basis of poverty levels.

He said the amount of money the agency receives is insufficient to support all needy students. Helb was allocated Sh7.5 billion this financial year, leaving a gap of about Sh2 billion.

“About 67,790 have been selected for public universities and another 12,000 will join colleges. More than 20,000 will join private universities. All these students need loans,” said Mr Ringera.

He was addressing officials from universities and technical colleges during a Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) workshop at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi.

FIRST YEAR STUDENTS

“This financial year, we have been allocated Sh7.5 billion, of which Sh6.3 billion will be for continuing students and the remaining Sh1.2 billion for first year students,” said the chief executive officer.

He said if the government agrees to release the Sh1.5 billion the board has requested, it could give loans to about 50,000 students.

Mr Ringera added that the board was finding it difficult to finance more students given the increasing demand for university education.

“We used to rely heavily on supplementary estimates. However, we have received communication from the National Treasury that there will be no more supplementary budgets and that we should work as per our plans,” said the official.

Mr Ringera said there were about 77,000 students who received loans from the board but who are yet to repay a total of Sh7.9 billion. He urged them to pay to enable others to also benefit from the funds.

The agency currently supports 135,000 continuing students at universities in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

During the meeting, stakeholders agreed with the board that the closing date for students submitting their applications for loans for the first time is September 30.

KUCCPS Chief Executive John Muraguri said students had started receiving text messages informing them of the universities and colleges they have been selected to join.

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