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HELB disburses loans to university and TVET students

The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) on Wednesday, October 4, started the disbursement of tuition loans to University and Technical Vocational Training Colleges (TVET), ending months of pain for learners.

In a statement, HELB CEO Charles Ringera said that more than 175,000 undergraduate students and over 700,000 continuing TVET students under the Old Higher Education Funding Model (OFM) are among those who will receive the loans.

The Sh10.5 billion loan disbursement comes as a relief for the thousands of learners under the old model of funding, the majority of whom are from poor households.

Ringera noted that the loans are being distributed in accordance with the student’s chosen payment methods, which include either a bank account or the HELB mobile wallet.

“Higher Learning Institutions (HLIs) – Universities and Colleges are advised to allow students to register as tuition fees to various institutions have also been released and should reflect in their respective bank accounts of the HLIs by October 5, 2023,” said Ringera in the statement.

Also read: Helb warns public of fraudsters

The HELB boss said that for first-time learners applying for funding under the new higher education funding model for loans and scholarships, the deadline has been extended to October 7, 2023, as directed by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu.

Inadequate allocation and delayed cash release by the Treasury had triggered the cash crunch at the HELB amid rising defaults from former university students.

The delayed disbursement meant the first-year students sought alternative means of paying for their tuition, accommodation, and upkeep.

On Tuesday, riot police engaged in running battles with students of Multimedia University in Rongai, who protested over the delayed disbursement of HELB funds.

The rowdy students lit bonfires and blocked the roads around campus, including the busy Magadi Road, forcing police to use teargas to disperse them.

This sudden strike came at a time when Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino made a public call for HELB to expedite the disbursement of funds to students.

Also read: How to check your HELB loan status

In a video statement on his social media, MP Owino expressed deep concern over the financial hardship students face due to delayed disbursement.

“Comrades are very hungry and angry at the same time. Students cannot go to class because HELB has not been released, hence they cannot pay fees,” he declared.

Owino emphasised the dire circumstances, stating, “Students cannot buy food, they cannot afford accommodation, and they cannot get money for transport.”

The parliamentarian directed his appeal to the Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Ndung’u, urging swift collaboration with HELB to ensure the immediate release of funds.

“Move with speed and release the money to comrades in various universities. HELB must never delay. This money is very little and never sufficient, and furthermore, you are delaying it,” he asserted.

Owino, who formerly served as the president of the Kenya Universities Students Organization (KUSO) before his election to parliament, recalled that during his tenure, HELB funds were consistently released on time.

Also read: Unlocking HELB access: Hacks to reactivate your account