BUDGET 2021-22

Treasury moves to save cash-strapped universities

Has proposed a Sh23.2 billion increase to fund government-sponsored students in public and private universities.

In Summary

• Private universities will get Sh5.6 billion up from Sh2.4 billion.r.

• The government first sent government-sponsored students to private universities in 2016.

The Treasury Building.
The Treasury Building.
Image: FILE:

The National Treasury has proposed a Sh23.2 billion increase in the 2021-22 budget to fund government-sponsored students in public and private universities.

The institutions will get Sh61 billion, up from Sh41 billion allocated in the 2020-21 financial year. This is a 53 per cent increase from the previous year. It seems to be the first step towards fixing the universities' dire financial situation. 

Private universities will get Sh5.6 billion, up from Sh2.4 billion.

The increment is contained in the Budget and Appropriations Committee report tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.

Public universities will get double the amount they received last year, while private universities are set to almost triple their annual allocation.

The proposal to increase capitation was fronted by university heads in December.

Kenya Association of Private Universities chairman Mumo Kisau faulted the funding model, saying the number of students sent to the institutions had increased over the years, but the money allocated remained the same.

The government first sent government-sponsored students to private universities in 2016 and agreed it would send Sh70,000 for each student.

“Over the years, the number of students has increased, but the amount sent to the institutions remained constant, making the programme hard to maintain,” Kisau said.

The latest statistics show that private universities have 61,237 government-sponsored students placed in the four-year period.

Among other proposals to save cash-strapped universities is to increase tuition fees per student from Sh16,000 to Sh48,000 per year.

The National Treasury has endorsed plans to increase university fees, pushing the burden to parents and signalling the government’s inability to fully fund broke public institutions.

The Treasury has warned of a possible stalling in development projects in universities due to underfunding.

It notes that other institutions within the university sector remain underfunded and threaten their operations.

“Indeed, critical institutions such as the Commission for University Education, the National Research Fund, the University Funding Board, and the Higher Education Loans Board are not well-funded and this has crippled their operations,” the report reads.