More than 5,000 government-sponsored students who were placed in private universities in September last year failed to take up their slots.
Data from University Funding Board indicates that out of the 17,368 students who were selected by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) to join the institutions, only 12,000 took up their slots.
University Funding Board chief executive Milton Njuki said the board used Sh2 billion to place the students in the private universities.
Statistics indicate that less than 25 private universities admit government-sponsored students while others have been unwilling to participate in the programme that was started in 2016 as a measure to address the problem of admission of students based on bed capacity in public universities.
“We believe that the more than 5,000 students who did not take up their slots joined technical colleges or other institutions,” Mr Njuki said, adding that this was an improvement compared to 2016.
In 2016, only 6,318 out of 12,096 government-sponsored students joined private universities selected for them.
“The previous cohort were selected late but this time it was done at the same time with those joining public universities and that is why the turnout improved,” Mr Njuki said.
Already, KUCCPS has started placing students in various degree programmes for the September intake.
According to Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, available university vacancies for 2018 were 98,703 students.
However, the number of qualified students who attained C+ and above in 2017 KCSE examination were 69,151.
Universities had initially indicated they have a capacity of 143,000: 93,000 in 32 public universities and 47,335 in private universities.
However, after validation by the Commission for University Education, the number was reduced to 81,038 for public universities and 17,665 for private universities.
“Universities cannot fill the extra vacancies as the rest of the students did not qualify,” Ms Mohamed told the Education Committee last week.
At the same time, CUE has setup a team to carry out an inspection at KAG East University, following complaints by students last month.
“We wish to inform you of the poor learning environment in our institution. Students are overcharged school fees, the school does not have enough books in the library and lacks enough lecturers.
"The university also advertises courses it does not offer and then forces students to take courses they never applied for,” the students said.