HELB: The Plight of First-Year Students Who Missed Out on University Funding

So, listen up folks! There’s been quite a ruckus lately regarding our good ol’ friend – the Higher Education Loans Board, or HELB for short. It seems that some university students, particularly those fresh-faced first-years, found themselves in a bit of a pickle when it came to their fund’s application status.

HELB recently released a statement explaining the unfortunate predicament. They confessed that due to some financial challenges, they were unable to disburse funds to all the students for the academic year 2022–2023. Now, before you start raising those pitchforks, hear me out. The statement said, and I quote, “We regret that your Financial Year 2022/23 application will not be funded due to budgetary constraints. Apply for the 2023/24 subsequent application once we open.” Well, at least they didn’t say, “Tough luck, better luck next time!”

And my dear first-years you’re not alone in this unfortunate turn of events. Many of your fellow classmates found themselves in the same boat. They were all set for their funding, their applications were verified and good to go, but then the dreaded financial constraints swooped in like an eagle stealing your lunch. Talk about bad timing, right? So, what’s the solution, you ask? Not really a solution but at least you’ll have to wait until the 2023/2024 Financial Year to try your luck again. Patience is a virtue, they say.

Now, let me tell you what the folks at HELB had to say about this whole mess. According to an official, they received applications from students who missed out, and everything was verified—no funny business there. But alas, the cruel mistress of finance had different plans. Due to those pesky financial constraints, they couldn’t lend a helping hand. However, don’t lose all hope just yet! When the application opens up again, you won’t have to start from scratch. You’ll be able to apply as subsequent applicants. See, there’s a silver lining in every cloud!

Oh, and by the way, continuing students were the stars of the show when it came to fund allocation. They got the VIP treatment, with their disbursement arriving on time. According to the HELB official, the reasoning was quite simple. Those continuing students were already knee-deep in their studies and depended heavily on the loan. Makes sense, right? Gotta keep those academic wheels turning smoothly.

But here’s the twist in the tale, in March HELB dropped a bombshell revealing that they were having trouble financing around 140,000 students. It seems the Treasury took its sweet time releasing a whopping 5.7 billion Kenyan shillings. Money talks, my friends, and sometimes it takes a while for it to find its way into the right pockets. HELB proposed some extra funding to cover this financing deficit, but guess what? The Treasury gave them the old thumbs-down. Tough break, guys.

Now, here’s a fun fact for you: in the current financial year, the Treasury allocated a hefty 15.8 billion Kenyan shillings for university students’ funding. That’s no small change, so what does a successful loan applicant get these days? Well, the lucky ones receive a sum ranging from 35,000 to 60,000 Kenyan shillings per year. A nice little boost to help them navigate the treacherous waters of higher education. But here’s the catch: 8,000 Kenyan shillings of that loan go straight to the university as tuition fees, leaving the remaining balance to be split into two equal tranches covering two semesters. It’s like getting a piece of cake, but the waiter takes a big bite before handing it to you. Tricky, huh?

So, my dear first-years, though the road may be bumpy and the funding gods seem fickle, but do not give up just yet, the 2023/2024 Financial Year holds new opportunities and a chance to fulfill your academic dreams. Hang in there, and remember, even if life throws you a curveball, there’s always room for a little laughter along the way. Just keep that chin up and those loan applications ready when the time comes. Onward and upward!


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