No fee hike in varsities as applications start

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Parents of candidates who sat last year’s KCSE exam will not pay higher fees for their children’s university and college education.

It is emerging that universities and colleges have been instructed to maintain the fees they set last year and also not to raise the cost of courses they had declared.

The details emerged as the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) announced the start of applications for courses for the 899,453 students who qualified for degrees and diploma courses after sitting the 2023 KCSE.

The Standard established that the Universities Fund (UF) and senior Ministry of Education officials have been instructed to comb through the declared courses and costs attached to flag universities that might have reviewed their fees upwards.

This is as it emerged that vice-chancellors have been warned of punitive measures if found to have breached directives against increasing fees.

This year’s cohort will be the second to be admitted under the new funding model.

Under the new funding model, universities have the liberty to set individual programme fees, but cannot change them for admitted students during their studies.

On Thursday, KUCCPS Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wahome said while the application primarily targeted last year’s candidates, school leavers in the last 12 years are also eligible to apply for non-degree courses.

“The online KUCCPS application portal is open for placement of students to universities, TVET institutions, Kenya Medical Training College, Teachers Training Colleges and Open University of Kenya,” Dr Wahome said in a statement. 

Dr Wahome said all students will be placed in various courses, including degree, diploma, certificate, craft and artisan.

About 201,073 learners qualified for degree programmes in universities across the country.

The remaining 694,231 are battling for diploma and certificate placement in TVET institutions, TTCs and KMTC campuses.

Sixty-nine (69) universities, including the Open University of Kenya, three secondary Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs), 226 public TVET colleges and 86 KMTC campuses have declared vacancies.

Last year, Medicine, Dental surgery, Pharmacy and Engineering stood out as the most expensive degree courses under the new university funding model. Students joining university this September to pursue Medicine and Dental surgery will pay as high as Sh600,000 fees – depending on their university of choice – for the first year.

Mobilisation campaign

Application for placement will be through the student’s portal which will open for two weeks for the first round.

Students have been advised to use their birth certificate number or Kenya Certificate of Primary Education as used during registration for the KCSE examination as the initial password.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has called on all learners who sat KCSE in the last 13 years to take up the opportunity for placement.

He challenged KUCCPS and educationists to make an effort to encourage all Form 4 leavers to apply for a course in institutions to ensure no one is left alone.

“I directed KUCCPS to roll out an awareness, sensitisation and application mobilisation campaign at 262 centres across the country covering 210 training institutions and 52 Huduma Centres to help students select programmes of their choice,” said Machogu.

The CS further said it will require a collective responsibility by all State agencies to ensure the 100 percent transition from secondary school to higher learning institutions is achieved.

“I direct KUCCPS to work with the Higher Education Loans Board, the Universities Fund, other relevant partners and State organs in a multi-agency approach to ensure that as many Form Four leavers as possible are reached and assisted to submit their applications,” Machogu stated.

Once the placement process is over, the Universities Fund and Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) will open their portal for students to apply for scholarships and loans where all students will be eligible for government funding either in scholarship or loans.