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Varsity students brace for empty wallets as HELB's allocations slashed

Treasury allocated only Sh10.1 billion, which is meagerly a half the amount the financier requires for the coming financial year.

 

In a statement, the loan's body said, the Treasury allocated only Sh10.1 billion, which is meagerly a half the amount the financier requires for the coming financial year.

HELB’s Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera said in a statement that the agency was projecting to cash in Sh19 billion for the next fiscal year starting July, only that to fall apart.  The Sh10.1 billion allocated, he said, includes money recovered from former beneficiaries.

The current fiscal year’s allocation was Sh9.1 billion, which is composed of Sh6.6 billion from the Treasury allocation and another Sh2.5 billion from loan recoveries.

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On the other hand, loan payout to students set to join or currently in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions is set to balloon to Sh1.3 billion in the coming financial year from the current Sh900 million.

Increased beneficiaries

In October last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed HELB to begin funding Kenyan students studying in universities outside the East African Community region. The move, evidently, has shot the financial appetite for the loan’s body.

In addition, the current Universities Act now requires the Higher Educations Loans Board to award loans based on the cost of courses. Previously, there was no such a parameter.

“We also plan to increase funding to technical colleges, and there is also a presidential directive to begin funding students in foreign universities,”  Ringera told the press.

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Meanwhile, the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) announced that all the 88,929 candidates who scored between A and C+ in 2016’s KCSE will get a placement in public university of their choice.

The new figure is a 20 per cent departure from the previous year's (2015) 74,389 lot.

The under-funding has prompted protests from students in recent years due to delays in disbursing the loans.

The delay means that students who report to university have to rely on other means to cater for their tuition, accommodation and upkeep as they await the government funding.

Broke Universities

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A recent report by the auditor general’s office implicated over 11 public universities struggling to meet their financial obligations.

The University of Nairobi (with a deficit of Ksh2bn), Pwani University among others blamed the scenario for restricted increase of fees, crippling most operations.

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