Private universities are seeking Sh4.1 billion from the government for the 29,826 State-sponsored students who have been studying at their institutions for the past three years.
In a memorandum to Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed during a meeting at Jogoo House on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Kenya Association of Private Universities (Kapu), Prof Mumo Kisau, said each student needs at least Sh140,000.
Prof Kisau said private universities are willing to continue supplementing the government's efforts to provide university education, but noted that that should not lead to their ruin.
According to the universities, the government allocated Sh2 billion for State-sponsored students in the 2017/2018 financial year when there were only 18,587 students.
“With the increase of students to 29,826, the budgetary allocation has fallen below Sh2 billion mark, further reducing the amount of money available per student now standing at an average of Sh66,385 per student,” the memo reads.
They said the amount of money the State allocates for the students it sponsors to their institutions is too little compared with the actual cost of education.
“For example, in one private university, using data from their audited accounts, the university has calculated their costs per student per year in the social sciences in 2016 and 2017 as Sh183,637 and Sh205,073 respectively,” the document reads.
Private universities first admitted 6,312 government-sponsored students in 2016. The number rose to 12,275 in 2017 and 11,239 in 2018.
Meanwhile, more than 90,377 students who scored C+ in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations are now set to select the degree programmes they wish to pursue from this year.
Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) Chief Executive Officer John Muraguri said the students will soon be invited to revise their degree programmes.
“We are almost done with the validation of the various universities’ capacities and programmes,” Mr Muraguri said.
This will be the largest intake in three years. In 2017, the number of students who scored C+ and above was 70,073 while in 2016 it was 88,929.
The number of slots in a single year in all universities combined is estimated at between 90,000 and 132,686.
With 90,377 students eligible for admission this year, the universities will scramble for the successful 13.77 percent of all those who sat the exam last year.
If the Education ministry works with the same programme as last year’s, those who sat the examinations will receive the results of their placement in April 2019.
Then in May, there will be room for transferring of universities for those dissatisfied with their placement. And from August students will start reporting to their various universities.