The Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) has launched an electronic financial literacy programme aimed at helping university students efficiently manage their loans.
The program dubbed e-Financial Literacy Program, a partnership with MaishaEdu, seeks to address lack of knowledge among university students when it comes to managing their finances since they are fresh from school.
Speaking during the programme’s launch at Anniversary Towers on Thursday, the loans-board CEO Charles Ringera said that students need to understand that Helb is a loan and that they must use the money prudently.
Mr Ringera said that the board is concerned about the frivolous spending of the Helb money by students on activities like betting saying the programme will alleviate such cases by imparting the students with financial management and budgeting skills.
“It will be part and parcel of loan application. We know that students are coming from diverse backgrounds and so we have taken this step to put them in the same pedestal by offering them financial literacy to ensure that the money we disburse goes to the intended use,” said the Helb boss.
“We tailor relevant information depending on the needs of the students. For instance, for 4th years we lean towards loan repayment channels and how to avoid the 5,000 shillings penalty. We then have conversation with them on entrepreneurship and not necessarily wait for employment but rather think of how to become employers,” he said.
Mr Rishi Sidhpura from MaishaEdu said that the programme is tailored to Kenyan youth and has a set of ten questions aimed at bringing financial concepts to life for today’s digital generation.
“This is a pioneer programme in Kenya and we know there will be difficulty in its adoption. So far 40,000 applications have been received and all have passed the exam at the end of the e-Financial literacy content,” said Mr Sidhpura.
Helb has set aside Sh10.3 billion for disbursement this financial year with Sh4.1 billion coming from loan recoveries while the remainder comes from the government.
They have also increased their allocation to Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (Tvet) to Sh1.2 billion up from Sh0.6 million last year.