Universities Directed to Admit First-Year Students Without School Fees, Assures Education CS

The Ministry of Education has directed all universities to admit first-year students without school fees, ensuring that no student is turned away on the reporting date. This directive, issued by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, seeks to address concerns raised by parents and students regarding the high cost of school fees for higher education.

The call comes as the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination candidates are set to join various institutions of higher learning across the nation, with the reporting date slated for Monday, August 28.

Responding to inquiries from the National Assembly Education Committee, CS Ezekiel Machogu affirmed that the Ministry is actively processing the disbursement of funds for first-year students in public universities. The goal is to ensure that universities have the necessary funds to accommodate incoming students without delay.

“We are giving universities the funds such that they will not say that we are admitting first years while we don’t have funds,” CS Machogu emphasized.

Machogu also mentioned that the Ministry had issued a circular to universities, instructing them to admit students who may not have completed the application process for scholarships and funds. This measure is in line with the Ministry’s commitment to providing access to higher education for all eligible students.

Despite the ongoing challenges, the universities have been working to streamline the application process. So far, only 75,272 students out of the total 285,167 have successfully applied for scholarships and funds, representing approximately 30 percent of the eligible student population.

Geoffrey Monari, CEO of the Universities Fund, acknowledged the surge in applications and assured students that the system would be adjusted to accommodate all eligible applicants. He revealed that efforts are underway to address any technical glitches in the application portal.

“We shall allow all the students who are eligible to apply so that we can support them,” Monari assured.

Furthermore, Monari stated that students eligible for scholarships and loans will be required to apply annually, a measure aimed at maintaining accurate records of student enrollment and any changes in status.

CS Machogu also addressed the issue of students without identity cards. He stated that approximately 1,000 students without IDs would still be eligible for government scholarships, although they would not qualify for loans due to contractual requirements. CS Machogu clarified that once these students attain the required age for loan eligibility, they would be able to access loans from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).

The government has allocated Ksh39.4 billion for the new funding model in the 2023-24 financial year. To support this model, the government has increased resources by an additional Ksh12.5 billion. However, CS Machogu noted that a funding gap of Ksh18.6 billion still exists, which will be addressed during Supplementary 1 for the 2023-24 fiscal year.


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