If a proposal by the Ministry of Education and the statutory body is approved, university students could soon be receiving more than five times the amount they receive as loans from the Higher Education Loans Board, Helb.
Simon Nabukwesi, principal secretary for University Education and Research in the Ministry of Education, and Charles Ringera, chief executive officer of Helb, have petitioned Parliament to consider increasing funding for student loans, bringing the maximum allocation to Sh200,000 per year.
Currently, students receive an average of Sh37,000 per year, which the PS and CEO argue is insufficient for students to pay school fees and maintain themselves in light of rising economic demands.
Nabukwesi, on the other hand, claims that the board is underfunded and thus unable to adequately fund the students. He says many students missed out on this year’s loans due to a lack of funding adding that Helb is currently charging students an average of Sh37,000, which is insufficient.
“We need more funding to enable Helb to raise the loan allocation to Sh200,000 per student annually;’ Mr. Nabukwesi explained.
According to Mr. Ringera, Helb plans to finance 74,438 first-year university students in the fiscal year 2021/2022, compared to 128,073 students placed by Kenya Universities and Central Placement Services (Kuccps), leaving out a total of 53,635 students under government sponsorship.
Ringera attributed this to the board’s available budget for the year and asked members of parliament to consider allocating more funding to the board.
Helb recognizes the importance of providing funds to all students who applied for loans and has requested an additional Sh4. 9 billion to cover the deficit;’ he said.
applicants on July 19, 2021, but students could not apply immediately because they had not yet been placed, and that placement results were released a month later on August 17, 2021.
Funds are then released to students at least two weeks before the start of the semester, as provided by various institutions of higher learning.
On funding for students under the age of 18, Mr. Ringera was pressed by MPs to explain why Helb has continued to deny student loans despite the Education Committee passing a law allowing students to benefit. According to Ringera, only students with national ID cards are legally permitted to obtain loans.