The Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) will now be managing the Sh30 million Bomet County government’s revolving fund which will benefit students in universities and middle level colleges.
Governor Joyce Laboso and Helb Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera signed memorandum of understanding Thursday and said the fund will benefit 1,500 students from the county in the current financial year.
“This year we have allocated Sh30 million to the fund and a similar amount will be allocated in the 2019/2020 financial year and another Sh20 million in the following year,” said Dr Laboso during the signing of the MoU in her office.
She said the move will enable the county to bridge the shortfall in skills in the various departments in the county, noting that the discussion with Helb on creating and administering the fund started in 2015 and is being realised four years later.
Dr Laboso, who is the chairperson of the Council of Governors’ Education committee, called on her colleagues in other counties to create a similar fund to benefit students from needy backgrounds, adding that Helb’s loan recovery programme will ensure the defaulters are penalised.
Mr Ringera said Helb is managing a similar fund in Taita Taveta and Kakamega counties and 15 constituencies in the country with more expected to join the programme this year.
“A student requires Sh122,000 a year for fees and upkeep in a university but majority of the parents cannot afford to raise the fees and it is here that Helb and the county fund will come in handy as we seek to address the individual needs of each applicant,” said Mr Ringera.
He said that students benefit from Sh45,000 Helb loans while orphans and those with special cases get Sh60,000 per semester.
Bomet County has also set aside Sh42 million bursary fund to benefit students in various secondary schools in the region.
A total of Sh4.7 million in bursary funds to benefit 100 students joining Form One and who attained over 400 marks in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam last year has been released to the schools.
The beneficiaries comprise of four students from each of the 25 wards in the county.