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Friday, January 19, 2023 – It appears the government of President William Ruto is making good the threat to stop funding students through Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).
This is after HELB announced that it will support only about 40,000 first-year university students in the current 2022/23 academic year after it failed to get the money it needed from Ruto’s government.
This highlights the budget shortfalls that have hit various agencies concerned with students’ higher education funding and welfare which comprises HELB and University Funding Board (UFB).
The 40,000 represent roughly 38 per cent of the total 105 000 students who applied for loans last year. HELB loans are meant for fee payment and upkeep.
Instead, more Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) students of about 45,000 will be loaned, bringing the total beneficiaries to 85,000.
Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) placed more than 145,000 students in the last September 2022 intake, meaning almost half either never applied or missed the HELB loan.
“The number depends on the budget. Like this academic year, we are going to give only 40k university students out of the 105k loan applicants. We have 140k in TVET and Universities that we are not going to fund because of lack of money unless this supplementary (budget) being talked about comes through,” HELB Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera stated.
Low loaning to freshers is also linked to the overshoot in the number of continuing students who turned to HELB last year to supplement their finances amid the high cost of living that has generally hit-hard families with school-going children.
The decline in the number of students getting HELB comes at a time when some public universities are also revising upwards the school fees, making higher education more expensive.
The Kenyan DAILY POST.