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Friday, October 22, 2021 – The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) has responded to the promise made by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to university students concerning the loan.

While addressing Meru University of Science and Technology students earlier in the week, Raila promised students free HELB loans if he ascends to power come 2022.

He noted that university students will not pay back the education loans beginning next year.

However, HELB has warned against the move.

Their fund’s Chief Executive Officer, Charles Ringera, said the government is already running a Ksh43 billion grant through the Universities Fund (UF).

“This money (grant) is paid to students in universities through the Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) and they do not pay it back,” Ringera noted.

He added that the HELB loan is a lifesaver especially to millions of Kenyans who lack funds to access higher learning.

He noted that HELB already runs a Ksh237 million bursary which takes care of desperate cases.

“We allocate Ksh8,000 per student as bursaries and this translates to Ksh137 million for university students and Ksh100 million for TVETs every year,” Ringera stated.

He argued that the HELB loan component should remain to finance more students.

Raila, amid cheers from the university students, assured them that HELB loans will be converted into grants.

“I said that when we take over the government, we will convert HELB into a grant,” said Raila.

Justifying his pledge, the opposition leader explained that every child born in the country, irrespective of the socio-economic status of their parents, will get equal opportunities from the nursery, primary to university education.

“That’s why I am saying today when I get to power, HELB will be a grant, not a loan,” Raila told the students.


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