Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) through their CEO Charles Ringera has urged university students to use funds provided by the financier in education activities only. The CEO said this after attending the launch of Madison insurance Uniplan savings plan targeted at university students.
Speaking to Magazine Reel, the CEO said that students are suffering in various institutions because they have failed to use the funds as appropriate. He claimed that the board has noted that close to half of students do not use their entire disbursement in acquisition of learning materials, accomodation and payment of fees. He said that quite a number of their beneficiaries end up engaging in consumption of alcohol and use of the said money in organizing for other recreational activities.
Charles Ringera said that Helb is currently supporting more than 260,000 students across the 70 universities in the country. He said that 20,000 students from the total number are enrolled in TVET institutions and that they expect the number to increase to 300,000 by the end of this year. He said that the huge increase will be due to the performance noted in last year’s KCSE. He added that TVET institution will have upper hand in their allocation citing Education CS Matinag’is directive.
Helb has been for the past two years been looking for a proper way of ensuring that only eligible students get their finances. The board has for over the said period come up with measures that will ensure that students find it a bit difficult to use Helb Funds in recreational activities. Sometime last year, the board resolved to introduce smart cards or Helb automatic transaction cards which they say was aimed at recovery of the disbursed funds in future. According to the CEO, Helb was not attempting to manage or limit student’s spending. He noted that they were in a plan of helping students to properly use the funds. The card also referred to as an electronic wallet was divided in departments with specific amount of funds designed to cater for tuition, accomodation, books, food, transport and clothing.
Though the CEO made the plea, it is not yet clear whether students will take him serious and implement his directive. A number of student leaders have in the past shown disagreement with the way Helb has been running its affairs in the country.