Varsity Students not a Priority Group in HELB, World Bank Report Reveals

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HELB Loan, Higher Education Loans Board

The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) is not viewing varsity students across the country as a priority group. According to a report released by World Bank, HELB is spending more time and money on administrative costs at the expense of issuing loans to students joining universities.

Titled ‘Expanding tertiary education for well paid jobs-competitiveness and shared prosperity in Kenya’ , the report was released and handed over to the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Dr Fred Matiang’i last month.

The Bretton woods institution which compiled and released the report with support from the World Bank urged the CS to intervene and pressure the board to reduce administrative costs through improved efficiency of its day to day operations.

The report further reveals that HELB used more than 22% of their revenues on administrative costs in 2012 translating to 143 Million out of the total 636 Million. HELB has set aside 1 Billion shillings for administrative purposes out of a budget of 10 Billion this year.

The report also provides a clear ground that the board’s mis-prioritization is the major reason for the delays in disbursement of funds to students accounts over the past months. The board recently asked the more than 86000 students to wait longer as they process the loans. Reports at Magazine Reel shows that First year students across the country received their loans only a week ago after struggling for approximately 3 months. The board’s delay led to deferment of studies by several students in various universities.

HELB has though defended themselves and said that the delays was majorly because they postponed the deadlines for submissions of applications from September 30th to October 21st. The chair of the board said that they had to fix an appropriate date to accommodate the more than 44000 students who had not yet applied for the funds.

The report was compiled by former university of Nairobi Vice chancellor Crispus Kiamba, Andreas Blom, Reehana Raza, Himdat Bayuduf and Miriam Adil all from World Bank.

The report propose an overhaul of loan disbursement with a focus on the process involved in determination of students from poor families. It says that only those who are unable to pay tuition fees should be assisted and that the loan should not let everyone to feel entitled, a point that most students have voiced out.

“Data suggest that loan applicants under report their family income to boost their chances of receiving a huge chunk of the HELB Loans. At present, HELB has no verification mechanism for this”, The Report indicates.

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