Government through HELB Releases Sh14.4bn for University Education

The Kenyan government has allocated Sh14.4 billion as the second tranche of funding for university loans and scholarships. This initiative, part of the 2023/24 academic year, underscores the government’s commitment to prioritizing students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds under the innovative funding model introduced by President William Ruto on May 3, 2023.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu confirmed the disbursement, revealing a breakdown of Sh10.39 billion for loans through the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) and Sh3.9 billion for scholarships via the Universities Fund. This substantial financial injection follows the initial release of Sh10.3 billion in loans for both university and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) continuing students in September 2023.

The allocation caters specifically to first-year university students, with Sh5.3 billion dedicated to loans and Sh3.9 billion to scholarships. This brings the total government funds disbursed for first-year students to an impressive Sh23.6 billion since their enrollment in September 2023.

Machogu clarified that the distribution of the Sh14.4 billion will be guided by financial need under the new university funding model. Eligibility is limited to students whose applications on the Higher Education Financing portal were successfully submitted before the August 31, 2023, deadline.

Under the new model, the Universities Fund will directly transfer tuition fees to universities. Simultaneously, HELB will channel loans and scholarships directly to universities and colleges, with upkeep funds being deposited into the respective student bank accounts or mobile phones.

President William Ruto’s funding model categorizes support based on four levels of need: vulnerable, extremely needy, needy, and less needy. The Means Testing Instrument (MTI), a scientific method, is employed to assess individual students’ financial needs, ensuring a targeted and fair distribution of resources.

The initiative initially benefited students who took the KCSE exams in 2022, with 173,127 joining universities and 145,325 enrolling in TVET institutions in September 2023. The second cohort, comprising candidates who sat the KCSE in 2023, is poised to benefit from this funding model, marking a strategic and sustainable approach to supporting higher education and technical training in the country.

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