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140,000 Students Will Miss Out on Loans as HELB Runs Out of Funds

140,000 Students Will Miss Out on Loans as HELB Runs Out of Funds

140,000 students will not receive loans because HELB is out of money. Around 140,000 students enrolled in public universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions have been unable to obtain State loans since the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) ran out of money, making it challenging for them to find alternate sources of funding for tuition, housing, and maintenance.

Helb informed Parliament on Wednesday that the students wouldn’t receive any additional payments until the Treasury had provided Sh5.7 billion.

Most loan applicants originate from low-income families and depend on Helb for support with their living and tuition costs.

CEO Charles Ringera of Helb stated that “we currently have 140,000 students in Tvets and universities that we have not been able to fund to the tune of Sh5.7 billion because we have run out of the budget that we had presented to Treasury of Sh4.5 billion.”

The organisation was unable to pay 75,000 students during a comparable time period last year because of a Sh3 billion delay in Treasury disbursements, which is almost quadruple the 140,000 students this year.

The majority of the students, who are first-years, will need to find alternate means of support while they wait for government funding as a result of the delayed release.

According to Mr. Ringera, a request to use additional monies to make up the present funding gap was turned down.

The group received Sh14.8 billion in the current fiscal year to support students according to their financial circumstances.

A loan applicant who is approved will get between Sh35,000 and Sh60,000 annually.

The university receives Sh8,000 of the total loan amount as tuition, and the remaining Sh20,000 is transferred in two equal payments, one for the first semester and the other for the second semester, to the beneficiary’s bank account.

Helb is designed to be a revolving fund where users who have finished their studies can contribute back to help users who are just starting out.

This hasn’t been the case, though, in a weak economy that is beset by a hiring freeze spurred on by disappointing economic results.

He stated that “every month, we collect around Sh400 million from former loanees, which we add to Treasury’s quarterly disbursements to service applications by ongoing students.” He was speaking to the Public Investments Committee on Education and Governance (PICEG) of the National Assembly.

140,000 students will not receive loans because HELB is out of money.

Typically, the first Treasury disbursement occurs in August, a month before colleges and universities start their academic sessions in September.

He claims that “the quarter exchequer release is about Sh3 billion and what Helb has collected by that time is about Sh1.2 billion, totaling around Sh4.2 billion, which is way below the Sh7 billion required to adequately service loan applications.”

Helb and the Treasury reached an agreement to remedy the imbalance, whereby payments will henceforth be made every six months rather than every four months.

In September of last year, the Treasury released to us Sh5.6 billion, and at the time, we had roughly Sh4 billion in collections. We were able to pay the full sum for September and October, according to Mr. Ringera, after adding the two.

For semester two’s December payments, the Treasury only released Sh2.5 billion; the remaining monies were just recently sent to Helb’s account as a result of student demonstrations in the streets.

Over the years, Helb has had difficulty meeting the growing demand for loans.

Public university enrollment of students supported by the government has increased at the quickest rate in the previous five years.

In 2022, there were 173,345 applicants who passed the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam with the required score for admission to a university, up from 145,776 in the previous year.

140,000 students will not receive loans because HELB is out of money.

Nearly all students with a C+ or higher in the previous five years were accepted into regular university programmes, making them eligible for Helb loans.

Helb’s capacity to support students at universities and technical colleges has been compromised by loan defaulters, leading to budget cuts and an increased reliance on the Treasury.

A little more than 100,000 former university students missed Helb loan payments at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak.

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