The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) now says university students will receive reduced funding.
HELB Chief Executive Officer, Charles Ringera, on Monday, September 6, indicated that the loan would be slashed to Ksh38,000, down from the previous amount of Ksh45,000 that each student was eligible to.
Ringera, in an interview with a local media house, noted that the move was to ensure that as many students as possible benefit from the fund.
The HELB executive also noted that all first year students joining universities beginning Monday, September 6, would begin receiving their funds in October.
He noted that the board chose to delay the remission to allow as many students to apply and for a proper assessment to be done to determine who is more needy and eligible.
“We don’t know how many students will apply, so we can’t start processing the money now. That can end up leaving out orphans and other deserving cases,” he was quoted as saying by the media house.
The board often disburses Ksh70,000 for students as capitation fees and pays Ksh16,000 directly to the universities as tuition fees.
The students are then expected to foot the rest of the school fees from the Ksh38,000 they receive in their bank accounts every year.
In the latest cohort, over 128,000 students were admitted to universities while more than 193,000 proceeded to colleges.
As of now, all continuing students have already received their funding.
This comes a week after Parliament rejected a proposal that sought to extend repayment period as well as reduce its interest rates on HELB.
In the flopped proposal presented by nominated Member of Parliament, Gideon Keter, the lawmaker sought to extend repayment grace period from one year to five years.
Keter was also seeking to have interest on the principal amount given to the youth as well as people with disabilities waived until they secure employment.
However, the National Assembly Committee on Education, chaired by Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua, dismissed the proposal, arguing that if implemented, the board would face challenges in financing higher education.
The team also noted that reviewing it downwards would undermine the board’s existence and financial muscle.
“In the event that the interest rate is varied downwards, HELB’s financial capacity to fund students will be grossly affected.”
“This, therefore, requires the National Treasury to provide more budgetary allocations to HELB,” stated a report from the committee.