Helb boss says students to wait a bit longer for loans

Helb offices in Nairobi

The Higher Education Loans Board offices in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Preliminary results for students who applied for their university and college education funding have been processed but they will have to wait a little longer before knowing their fate.

The CEO of the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) Charles Ringera told ‘Nation’ that under the funding model which will be used for the first time this year, 139,060 first-year university students have applied for government funding. This is against the expected 140,107 students placed to various degree programmes by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps). 

“We have preliminary results which we are validating with the information disclosed. This will go on for a few more days,” Mr Ringera said.

He disclosed that another 109,798 applications had been received from students who have been placed to technical and vocational education and training (Tvet) institutions, bringing the total number of new applicants to 248,858. 

One-month extension

The applications closed on Saturday after a one-month extension of the earlier deadline. 

The results are eagerly awaited since Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu directed institutions to admit students without paying tuition fees as they awaited the outcome of their applications.

“We had a budget for 155,814 students but we have 140,107 who were placed. The 130,485 placed in public universities will get the scholarship and loan while the 9,662 placed in private universities will get loans,” the CEO of the Universities Fund (UF) Geoffrey Monari said at a past event.

The model combines scholarships and student loans that will be determined by an individual’s level of need as well as the cost of the programme, among other factors. It is expected to cost Sh39.4 billion for the 2023-2024 financial year. 

Helb will grant the loan component while the UF will grant the scholarships. 

However, the 9,662 students who were placed in private universities only qualify for the loan and not scholarship. Students who get admission in Tvet colleges under other ministries do not qualify for the financing.

Mr Ringera said that once the students get results of their allocations, those dissatisfied will have a chance of appeal.

Appeal process

“There is an appeal process in the system once categorisation is out,” he said.

Last week, Helb disbursed Sh10.5 billion to continuing students for tuition and upkeep loans. Continuing students have not been affected by the new funding model.

“In September, the government released Sh8.4 billion as capitation to students in public universities and Sh441 million for continuing students in private universities,” said Mr Machogu. 

He added that Sh1.3 billion had gone to Tvet colleges to cater for continuing students’ tuition. 

“Government wishes to assure students, parents, guardians and the higher education institutions that all efforts are being made to ensure that the loans and scholarships are released to the applicants on time to facilitate their learning activities,” Mr Machogu said.