New model offers big relief for students for poor backgrounds, the rich to get bigger loans

University students celebrating their graduation. [Getty Images]

Students from rich homes will pay higher fees in the new university funding model.

The model seeks to support the neediest students whose fees will be paid in full, as opposed to the previous system that supported all students that had qualified for university.

Universities Fund Chief Executive Geoffrey Monari said that students will receive now financial aid based on their level of need.

Speaking in Naivasha during a media sensitisation meeting, Monari listed the categories as vulnerable, extremely needy, needy and less needy.

Monari said the those categorised as vulnerable or extremely needy—those considered to be the neediest—will be exempted from paying any direct fees.

 Instead, the government will pay their dues through government scholarships and a student loan that is payable after they get a job.

Those classified as needy and less needy will pay a minimal cost for direct fees.

The Saturday Standard now puts to perspective how this will be done and how it will work.

For example, in the case where an institution will charge Sh238,208 for a Bachelor of Law at JKUAT under the new funding model, a student from a vulnerable home will get Sh195,330 as government scholarship.

 This is equal to 82 per cent of the fees and another Sh42,877 as student loan which is 18 per cent of the total cost. With this, the student will have fully paid their tuition fees.

A student classified as extremely needy will get 70 per cent in scholarship which translates to Sh166,745. The student will also get Sh71,463 to complete their fees.

Students from needy households joining universities will receive government scholarships of up to a maximum of 53 per cent and loans of up to 40 per cent. Their households will only pay for seven per cent.

Using the reference of the student pursuing Law at JKUAT, this is how his/her fees will be settled.

The student will get some Sh126,250 in government scholarship, Sh95,283 in student loan and the parent will only pay Sh16,674 as direct fees.

On the other hand, the less needy students joining university will be funded through a government scholarship of up to a maximum of 38 per cent of the cost of the programme. The students will also get 55 per cent in form of loans and their households will pay only seven per cent.

Practically, this will mean that a student paying Sh238,208 as the tuition fees will get Sh90,519 as government scholarship, Sh131,014 as loans and Sh16,674 as direct fees.

University Funding Board Chief Executive, Geoffrey Monari on Friday revealed that the State will use Sh20.3 billion to support the new university funding model.

He said that the previous model put the most burden on the neediest of students because they got the highest amount of loans.

In the new model, he said that students who get the most loan will be the least needy because they are able to pay, arguing that students from richer backgrounds are able to service their loans easier but for a needier family, the loans are a lifetime burden.

“This is a model that is basically ‘pro-hustler’… the bigger picture aims to create a more sustainable model of funding our universities in the country,” Monari said.

Under the model, the government also seeks to conduct data reforms to monitor students’ progress up until they graduate.

“At the moment it is very hard to tell when a student discontinues their studies, we will put a system in place to

Dr Mercy Wahome, the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) Chief Executive, said the funding of students be funded based on the actual cost of programmes.

“Government financial allocation will focus on individual students… when we focus on the student then the universities will focus on the quality to help attract more students,” she said on Friday.

Sh indicated the plan is to allocate more money on the loans; this, she says, is more sustainable as the money will be paid back to give to new studentS once beneficiaries repay.