Myriads of complaints from students across different universities in Kenya on the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) social media pages have raised an alarm on the status of funds disbursement for the semester between January and April 2022
A cross-check of HELB social media handles by Daily Kenya News paints a picture of frustrated students consistently inquiring when the funds will be released.On the comments, a section of students informs HELB that they are about to sit for their exams, yet haven’t received funds in their accounts.
The cries of Students prompted the former SONU leader and current MP for Embakasi Hon Babu Owino to fault the government and HELB boss to disburse the funds lest they face matter of all strikes. This is good news as Babu’s voice means the voice of the Legislative arm of government which is tasked with responsibility of hiring and firing.
“The students used to take chicken, now they smell chicken and takes meal with children,” Said Owino
Another group of students paints a grim picture of difficult survival at the universities due to delay in the disbursement of funds, adding that they have to do menial jobs for survival.
According to the frustrated students, they’ve been checking the HELB portal only to see the disbursement in ‘progress’ for close to two months.
While albeit resigned, HELB has remained consistent in responding to the never-ending queries, promising the students that the disbursement is in progress, though the latter seems to be tired of waiting as patience wears off.
The delay in disbursement has ignited a debate across the country with many parents wondering what is the fate of the students especially those who solely rely on HELB.
There is also a growing concern among students and parents whether something could be wrong at the institution.According to the budget for the financial year 2020/21, the ministry of National Treasury and Planning allocated Ksh 12 Billion to HELB, meaning the institution is supposed to receive about 3 Billion quarterly.
Reports have now emerged indicating that the Government has not released the funds for quarter three (January – March), which is approximately 2.8 Billion for HELB to disburse funds to students.
It’s not clear what has caused the delay from the government but the situation has put students at loggerheads with the loans board.
It now remains to be seen whether the National treasury will act swiftly to mitigate the escalating situation and release funds to HELB for disbursement.