BUDGET CUTS

Over 63,000 varsity students to miss Helb loans

Beneficiaries will get about Sh37,000, a downward revision from the previous Sh45,000

In Summary
  • Some 75,000 students are set to benefit from the loans with a budget of Sh3.2 billion set for this function by the Higher Education Loans Board.
  • The new students will also miss out on a pioneer laptop loan that was set to be launched this year.
Students at the University of Nairobi.
BUDGET CUTS: Students at the University of Nairobi.
Image: UoN

Almost half of the students selected to join university this September under government sponsorships will miss out on student loans.

In 2020 KCSE, 142,540 candidates qualified for university admission but only 128,073 students were placed to pursue degree courses under state sponsorship.

Only 75,000 students are set to benefit from the loans with a budget of Sh3.2 billion set for this function by the Higher Education Loans Board.

This in effect means that 63,073 students are set to miss out on the study loans, which weighs in on their ability to cater for their studies.

The chief executive of the loans board Charles Ringera on Wednesday said the beneficiaries will get about Sh37,000, a downward revision from the previous allocations of Sh45,000.

Ringera says the disparity in those who’ll get the loan and the reduction in the amount awarded has been occasioned by a reduction in budgetary allocation.

“Remember our budget allocation was cut by Sh1 billion this year, from Sh16.8 billion in the previous year to Sh15.8 billion and this has affected the provision of loans,” Ringera said on a phone conversation with this reporter.

The first-year students began reporting to their respective institutions on Monday.

Kenyatta University is set to admit 6,733 students. Maseno University comes second and will enrol 6,659 under the government sponsorship program.

JKUAT got (6,529), University of Nairobi (6,407), Mount Kenya University (5,489) and Moi University (5,187).  Egerton University will admit 4,039 students.

However, this will not be the only shortcoming facing the new students; they also will miss out on a pioneer laptop loan that was set to be launched this year.

Laptop loans

The provision of laptops was championed as a noble course to aid online or virtual teaching and learning in universities in case of shutdown should there be a spike in Covid-19 infections.

Ringera on Wednesday said the students will have to wait a bit longer before this is actualised.

Ringera, says that the laptop loans have been shelved for now as the government seeks alternative sources to fund the project.

“We have to look for an alternative funding since the treasury did not allocate money for the laptops, we have made good progress but the students will have to wait a bit longer,” Ringera said.

The loans board had petitioned parliament to consider allocating Sh2.5 billion for a start, for half of those joining university as first years – at least 61,000.

Under the economic stimulus package students would get a Sh44,000 loan to buy laptops.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)