"Currently, we have 140,000 students in TVETs and universities that we have not been able to fund to the tune of 5.7 billion shillings because we have run out of the budget that we had presented to Treasury of KSh4.5 billion," he told the committee.
Over 140,000 students in public universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges missed State loans after the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) ran out of cash.
On Wednesday 22nd March, HELB’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Charles Ringera, made the revelation when he appeared before the National Assembly Committee on Education and noted that the Board had run out of cash.
He said students would have to contend without the funds until the National Treasury releases an additional 5.7 billion shillings.
“Currently, we have 140,000 students in TVETs and universities that we have not been able to fund to the tune of 5.7 billion shillings because we have run out of the budget that we had presented to Treasury of KSh4.5 billion,” he told the committee.
He explained that most who would be affected by the cash crunch would be the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) class of 2022, joining institutions of higher learning. Compared to 2022, the number has almost doubled from 75,000 students in the same period HELB struggled to fund due to delays in releasing KSh3 billion.
This means most first-year students across the country would have to seek an alternative source of funding as they await state funding.
Parents who have students in universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutes will have to dig deeper into their pockets to keep their children in school. The affected individuals will be drawn from across the board.
Ringera though offered a flicker of hope to students confirming that the board had made a request to the Treasury for the funding. According to the CEO, the board had requested Ksh4.5 billion from the Treasury but was yet to be disbursed.
HELB loan helps keep students from poor backgrounds in school by providing funding for accommodation, tuition, and upkeep. With the rising cost of living, HELB’s failure to release the funds in a timely manner will see many students drop out of school.
The delay in disbursement will also affect students poised to join universities and TVET institutions starting from September 2023
A successful loan applicant receives between 35,000 shillings and 60,000 shillings per year. Of the total loan disbursed, 8,000 shillings is sent directly to the university as tuition fees and the balance to the beneficiary’s bank account in two equal tranches covering the first and second semesters.
HELB is supposed to be a revolving fund in which beneficiaries who have completed studies pay back to support a fresh group of students.