Blow to University Students as Govt Slashes HELB Funds
Govt Slashes HELB Funds by large Margin
- The government has slashed the amount of money awarded to the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) by Ksh4 billion, awarding Ksh12.6 billion to the agency in the 2019/20 financial year.
HELB, which pays fees for more than 45 percent of students in higher learning institutions through loans, bursaries, and scholarships, will struggle to cater for the increasing number of applicants.
The agency’s beneficiaries are required to begin repaying the loans immediately they complete their studies, however, this hasn’t been the case as the number of defaulters has been on the rise every year.
The number of defaulters stands at Ksh 440,000, with more than Ksh52.1 billion still owed.
According to Nation, reports released this year indicate that only 150,000 graduates are repaying their cumulative loans of Ksh23.6 billion while another 390,000 still hold Ksh37.2 billion in credits that have not matured.
The budget comes in the wake of more students in Technical Vocational Education and Training institutions applying for funds from the board, in addition to the diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate students registered with Kenya University and College Central Placement Service (KUCCPS).
Data from HELB shows that nearly 350,000 students hope to qualify for the loan but the allocation from the government is fair much below the board’s expectation.
The board can only cater for close to 300,000 learners.
HELB chief executive Charles Ringera recently announced that the body had raised its credit allocation for undergraduates by up to Ksh 10,000 per student.
“Helb has increased allocation from Ksh 35,000 and Ksh 50,000 per year to a minimum loan of Ksh 40,000 and maximum of Ksh 60,000,” Ringera explained.