State funding will be extended to an additional 63,000 students in public universities and technical colleges as the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) adjusts its budget.
Between March and June, Helb went through two iterations of budget reduction to fill in the financial gaps for students in the current fiscal year.
Due to the delay in the release of Sh5.7 billion from the Treasury, Helb revealed in March that it was having trouble providing financial aid to almost 140,000 students.
“We have reduced that number to about 77,000 students requiring approximately Sh3.3 billion through budget rationalization,” said Helb’s chief executive, Charles Ringera.
The agency reduced spending on areas like employee training in order to give more money to students. As a result of the delay in allocation, most first-year students had to find other ways to cover their educational and living expenses.
Requests for additional budgetary allocations to bridge the current financing gap were turned down.
The government institution received Sh15.8 billion for student aid the current financial year.
Loan beneficiaries earn yearly payments ranging from Ksh 35,000 to Ksh 60,000.
Sh8,000 is paid directly to the school as tuition, with the remaining Sh48,000 split into two equal installments and deposited into the student’s bank account over the course of the academic year.
Helb operates as a revolving fund, where beneficiaries who have completed their studies repay the loans to support a new group of students.
For the upcoming July enrollment period, the government has reevaluated the funding framework for universities and technical colleges, turning towards a student-centered approach.
Scholarships will make up 80% of funding for universities and colleges, with student loans making up the remaining 20%.
Government-funded students can apply for loans from HELB based on how much financial assistance they require.
The increasing number of government-sponsored students attending public colleges, coupled with limited resources and a growing list of defaulters, has made it difficult for HELB to keep up with the rising demand for loans.