The second tranche of State financing towards student scholarships and loans in public universities under the new higher education funding model has been released.
The Ministry of Education said on Thursday that the funds amounting to Sh14.4 billion will cover scholarships and loans to first-year and continuing students during semester two of the 2023/24 academic year.
Out of the total amount released, Sh10.39 billion will go towards loans under the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) while Sh 3.98 billion will be disbursed as scholarships through the Universities Fund(UF).
The release of funds comes as a relief for the learners under the new model of funding where loans and scholarships are allocated to beneficiaries according to the level of need using a means testing tool.
Delays in disbursement prompted the Ministry of Education to instruct public universities to admit new learners without insisting on fee payment last year.
“The disbursement now brings to Sh23.6 billion the total amount released by the government for loans and scholarships to first-year students since they joined their respective universities in September 2023,” said Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu in a statement on Thursday.
In October last year, the government disbursed Sh5.3 billion for student loans and Sh 5.9 billion for scholarships for first years under the new funding model. Some Sh10.3 billion was also released to Helb in September 2023 to cater for continuing students’ loans in universities and technical and vocational education and training ( TVET) colleges.
Under the new funding model, the applicants are categorised into four groups: vulnerable, extremely needy, needy and less needy.
The new formula that will see the vulnerable get more support has been using parents’ background, gender, course type, marginalisation, disability as well as family size and composition to allocate the funds.
The government has undertaken to fully fund the vulnerable and extremely needy students who comprise 29 percent of those joining universities and TVETs.
Under the new funding model, the University Fund disburses the money directly to universities for successful candidates to cover their tuition fees.
Helb on the other hand disburses loans directly to respective universities or colleges and to respective student bank accounts or mobile phone numbers for upkeep.