State releases Sh14.4bn for university loans, scholarships

CS Ezekiel Machogu said universities will receive the funds by Friday, January 19.

In Summary
  • The amount brings to Sh23.6 billion in total funds the government has released for loans and scholarships for first-year students since they joined in September 2023.
  • On Wednesday, the government also released Sh1.192 billion to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions nationwide.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu speaking when he presided over the awarding of 1000 scholarships to learners by KCB foundation at KCB Karen leadership center, Nairobi on January 17, 2023.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu speaking when he presided over the awarding of 1000 scholarships to learners by KCB foundation at KCB Karen leadership center, Nairobi on January 17, 2023.
Image: FILE

The government has released Sh14.4 billion to cover scholarships and loans for first-year university students under the new funding model.

In a statement on Thursday, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said the monies are the second tranche of disbursements that will also cover second-semester loans for continuing students in the 2023/24 academic year. 

"Of the total amount, Sh10.39 billion will go towards loans under the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) while Sh3.9 billion will be disbursed for scholarships through the Universities Fund," he said.

The amount brings to Sh23.6 billion in total funds the government has released for loans and scholarships for first-year students since they joined in September 2023.

In September 2023, the government released Sh10.3 billion as loans for university and TVET continuing students and a further Sh5.3 billion in loans and Sh3.9 billion in scholarship funds for first years.

On Wednesday, the government also released Sh1.192 billion to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions nationwide.

TVET PS Esther Muoria said in a statement the funds would cater for tuition, training materials, utilities and curricula activities "to foster an environment conducive to effective learning and skill acquisition".

Machogu said the Sh14.4 billion will be allocated on a need basis under the new university funding model and will benefit only students whose applications on the Higher Education Financing portal before the August 31, 2023 deadline were successful.

The Universities Fund will wire tuition fees directly to the universities for the successful candidates while HELB will channel loans and scholarships directly to respective universities and colleges and upkeep to respective student bank accounts or mobile phones.

"Universities will receive the scholarship portions for their respective students by Friday, January 19, 2024," Machogu assured.

President William Ruto unveiled the new university and TVETs funding model on May 3, 2023.

He said the model is aimed at primarily benefiting students from extremely poor backgrounds.

He said the funding will be disbursed based on four levels of need; vulnerable, extremely needy, needy and less needy students.

The government uses a scientific method, Means Testing Instrument (MTI), to determine individual student's level of financial need to ensure they receive adequate support.

Students who sat KCSE in 2022 were the first cohort to benefit from the new funding model. 

They comprised 173,127 students who joined universities and 145,325 who joined TVET institutions in September 2023.

Candidates who sat at KCSE in 2023 will form the second cohort of students who will benefit under the new funding model.

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