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Helb to release cash for first year varsity students in two weeks

Thursday September 6 2018

HELB

Education CS Amina Mohammed (left) and Helb boss Charles Ringera on August 15 when she announced increased financing to TVETs. First year students will get their loans in mid September. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

OUMA WANZALA
By OUMA WANZALA
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First Year university students will start receiving their education loans mid this month with about 4,451 expected to miss out.

This will be a major shift from the past where they got the loans as late as November.

Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) said it has budgeted for 64,700 first years who started reporting to their respective institutions this week. A total of 69,151 students qualified to join universities, both public and private.

 Helb chief executive Charles Ringera said the lowest beneficiary of the loan will get Sh42,000 while vulnerable orphans will get up to Sh60,000 and a bursary of Sh8,000.

FORMS RECEIVED

“As at closure of the application period last month, we had 89,900 online application forms with 63,000 having been printed. The physical forms received so far are 32,000 and we continue to receive huge numbers daily. For those whose forms have already been received, verified and passed — funding starts on September 15,” said Mr Ringera.

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He went on: “This is therefore to call on the ones who have not submitted forms to Helb to do so in earnest in our various Huduma centres spread across the country.”

Mr Ringera explained that Afya Elimu Fund (nurses) payment for continuing students will also commence on September 15 while for the first time applicants it is ongoing. Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) applications are also going on and will close on October 31.

SMART CARDS

“We are living within the budget as instructed by the National Treasury. Fresh students' budget will be Sh2.8 billion while continuing students, 164,000, will take Sh6.9 billion,” said the CEO.

Post graduate students who are 4,000 in number, he said, will take Sh400 million.

“Of the 164,000 continuing students, who have opened for first semester, we have already paid 90,000 totalling Sh1.9 billion. We are paying as they open,” he said.

Helb, Mr Ringera noted, will use Sh10.1 billion to fund students this financial year.

This year all students will be required to have a smart card in order to access the funds.

EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT

“The cards will ensure effective and efficient management of funds that have been invested in the education sector by the government,” said the Helb boss.

I also remind universities that as earlier directed, this smart card solution must be in place in September this year,” said Education CS Amina Mohamed.

Universities had been directed to ensure that all students have the cards by September.

Mr Ringera said the cards will allow timely disbursement of loans and eliminate errors experienced in the past, such as wrong bank details.