Geoffrey Monari, the CEO of Universities Fund, has revealed that the government intends to utilize data from various State agencies like KRA and NHIF to determine eligibility for student scholarships and loans.
During an interview on Wednesday, Monari elucidated that the allotment of financial support to individual students and their categorization will hinge on critical factors like tax records, health insurance status, and contributions towards retirement.
He underscored that the decision-making process will heavily lean on information gleaned from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to evaluate household incomes accurately.
“For example, if you are paying Ksh1,700 for NHIF, it means you are at a certain income bracket, or if we go to KRA and look at your returns, it means you are at a certain income bracket,” Monari explained.
While data will play a pivotal role in ascertaining income brackets, Monari explained that a more comprehensive judgment would entail meticulous consideration of details furnished in the applications.
The applications will encompass particulars about students’ family backgrounds, income situations, and other pertinent aspects.
Some experts have voiced apprehensions regarding the potential repercussions of this new funding approach. Given the current economic landscape, they posit that education might become prohibitively expensive, rendering it beyond the means of many households.
Moreover, inquiries have been raised about how the government plans to assess the vulnerability of applicants, particularly considering the significant proportion of Kenyan workers in the informal sector.
Critics of the new system have criticized the government for swiftly implementing these changes without conducting thorough public participation and experimenting without contemplating the potential repercussions.
“Every sane Kenyan should oppose the experimentation going on in our education sector. It doesn’t matter whether you can afford the shenanigans or not,” cautioned Njenga.
According to Monari, a student’s eligibility for a loan or scholarship will not be affected if they change the program they are enrolled in or the university they attend.
He revealed that all students under 18 will receive scholarships while waiting for their loan awards at age 18, whereas students enrolled in private universities will only receive loans.
The Universities Fund aims to increase the percentage of high school graduates who enroll in universities from 19% to 30%.