Ruto: HELB has received additional funds for students
President William Ruto has spoken over rising concerns and claims of fund shortage at the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).
Ruto has said the board has recently received enough funds to lend to students across the country.
The statement comes after HELB told Parliament that it had run out of funds to sponsor some 140,000 students in public universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges.
The agency has allocated KES 14.8 billion this financial year to finance students based on their economic backgrounds.
“Currently we have 140,000 students in TVETs and universities that we have not been able to fund to the tune of KES 5.7 billion because we have run out of the budget that we had presented to the Treasury of KES 4.5 billion,” said HELB chief executive Charles Ringera.
Ringera also mentioned that a request to plug the current financing deficit through a supplementary budget was declined.
Additionally, the hiring freeze and sluggish corporate earnings have made it difficult for HELB to operate as a revolving fund.
Despite this, Ringera explained that HELB collects around KES 400 million every month from former loanees to add to the quarterly disbursements by the Treasury.
In the current financial year, a successful loan applicant receives between KES 35,000 and KES 60,000 per year, with KES 8,000 going 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.
However, HELB has over the years struggled to meet the rising demand for loans, as the number of government-sponsored students in public universities has grown at the fastest rate in five years.
President Ruto promiseD to hire 2,000 teachers for TVET colleges during the first day of his three-day tour of Kisii, Nyamira, and Migori counties.