In a policy shift aimed at resolving the funding crisis in public universities, students who receive state funding but choose to enroll in private universities will be required to pay their own tuition.
Ezekiel Machogu, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, said before Parliament on Thursday that this is part of ongoing efforts to reform the higher education system in order to make universities financially self-sufficient.
Due to a decrease in State capitation, public institutions are having trouble paying their bills, which have risen to a whopping Sh62 billion. These payments include payroll taxes, retirement benefits, and insurance premiums for employees.
His comments follow President William Ruto’s announcement about a new, student-centered funding model for universities and Tvet institutions, where funding is allocated to individuals based on their level of need.
All student funding, including grants, loans, and parental payments, will follow a scientifically calculated sliding scale. Students will be ranked from most vulnerable to least in terms of their level of need.
Differentiated unit cost (DUC) grants, which are now used to pay universities and Tvets, will be phased out under the new model.
State financing for higher education has increased to Sh84.6 billion from Sh54 billion given in the current financial year as loans and grants to help with the transition to the new framework. That’s an increase from Sh152,000 to Sh208,000 per student.
Starting in July, the Tvets budget will increase from Sh5.2 billion to Sh10 billion, or from Sh67,000 to Sh67,000 annually for each trainee.
In 2016, the state began sending government-sponsored students (GSS) to private universities in an effort to alleviate overcrowding at public universities.
Since then, students from all socioeconomic backgrounds have been able to use the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) to enroll in courses at their preferred universities.
To prevent public institutions from being disadvantaged to the benefit of private ones, PICEG chairman Wanami Wamboka stated that the committee is working on a Bill to “functionally tighten up any loose ends.”
However, a group of young legislators led by Embakasi East MP Babu Owino have criticized the new funding framework, arguing that it will limit the quality of education available to Kenyans.
There are currently 78,650 GSSs attending private universities, and their combined DUC requirement is Sh12.28 billion, but their DUC budget allocation is only Sh3.37 billion (21% of the DUC). This has prompted several private universities to raise tuition fee.
Similarly, public universities have had trouble meeting their responsibilities to their staff due to insufficient State financing, poor student enrollment, and the elimination of parallel programs.