University students should brace themselves for higher fees following an announcement by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani that the current funding model is not sustainable.
Mr Yatani fell short of declaring that fees would shoot up when he said the cost of financing an undergraduate student has risen to Sh200,000 from Sh120,000.
Of this amount, the government contributes Sh70,000 paid directly to the institutions, while learners meet the other costs, including Sh50,000 serviced through the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb). From the loan, Sh16,000 is paid in tuition fees.
Some Sh76.3 billion was set aside for university education and Helb received Sh15.8 billion, just slightly more than it had requested.
The board last month said it could reduce the amount it loans students if funding is not increased. It added that more than 95,000 students may not get the loans.
“In the current arrangement, universities have not only experienced financial constraints but are also unable to honour their statutory obligations. In order to ensure sustainability and self-reliance, the Ministry of Education is expected to engage stakeholders beginning July 2021 with a view to addressing the matter,” he said.
The BAC report recommended that the State Department for University Education and the University Funding Board complete the review of the funding formula by October 1, 2021 to ensure recently established universities are supported.
It said the amended formula should also be applied in the allocation of infrastructure funds to universities.
As expected, the Teachers Service Commission is the biggest beneficiary of the budget, receiving Sh281.7 billion, up from Sh266 billion it was given in the current financial year.