How funding formula affected varsity intake

Kisii University is among those that have doubled their numbers this year. The university will receive 8,632 students against the 4,723 it got last year.

Kenyatta University will enroll 7,968 under the new university funding model up from 6,640 it got last year. Maseno University will get 7,702 students up from 6,204 it received in the previous year.

The University of Nairobi will get some 6,932 students up from 5,786 it got in the previous admission.

Public favoured

JKUAT will receive 6,917 students slightly higher than 6,471 that it got in the previous year.

Speaking in Naivasha during a media sensitisation forum on the new funding model, Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service Chief Executive Mercy Wahome indicated that the new funding model had worked in favour of public universities.

"All the numbers within the public universities went up. I can give an example of Garissa University, where there were a lot of concerns because of the institution not being able to attract students but when we did a simulation for the first revision, they had already over 1,000 students, and in the past they attracted 200 at most," Dr Wahome said.

Analysis by the Standard further shows Turkana University College which received only 242 students in the last admission will now get 1,095 students; this is almost four times the number it got in 2022.

Garissa University which got only 330 students in 2022 will now receive 1,812 students.

Bomet University College also benefited big in this year's admission after it scooped 1,953 from the previous 917 students it got in the last admission exercise.

Karatina University will also see a significant increase in the number of new entrants as it is set to admit 4,750 students, last year, it received 2,567 students.

Koitalel Samoei University College last year received only 440 students but this year, it will get 830 new admissions.

Other universities that recorded significant increases in the number of new students include Taita Taveta University which will get 1,167 students from the previous 390 in 2022, and Tharaka University will get 1,707 from 1,118.

Maasai Mara University also registered a significant improvement, bagging 4,394 new entrants from the previous 2,554; similarly, Laikipia University recorded an increase from 2,058 in the last admission to 3,099.

Private universities woes

On the flip side, a significant drop was witnessed among the number of students joining private universities.

Mount Kenya University will get the highest enrolment among the private institutions -- 2,322 students. KCA University is second with 1,252 and Zetech is third with 1,018.

Kabarak University will receive 910 as Daystar University with 889, closes the top five private universities preferred by students.

Alupe University will get 798, Catholic University of Eastern Africa received 797, Kenya Methodist University got 503, the University of Eastern Africa Baraton with 384, while Catholic-based Uzima University got 241 students.

The lowest admissions will be recorded in International Leadership University that got only three students, Pan-African Christian University with seven, The East African University will get 12, Marist University College(12), Tangaza University College(13), Scott Christian University(13) and the Islamic University of Kenya which will receive only 14 students this year.

Dr Wahome explained that the cost of university programs affected students' patterns in choosing where they would proceed for higher education.

She also indicated that while applying for the degree programs, the system was designed to notify students that by choosing private universities they would be eligible for only loans and vice versa upon applying for public universities they would be eligible for both scholarships and loans.

"We wanted every student to make an informed choice at each step," Dr Wahome said.

The impact of this, she remarks, saw a decline in the number of students picking to study in private universities from the previous 20,000 to less than 10,000 this year.

"There are certain courses in private universities I can say that did not even attract a single student because if you have programmes that have high capacity in public universities and you can get both (scholarship and loans), and the cost is the same then definitely students will go on the other side (public universities)," Wahome noted.

Kenya Association of Private Universities attributes the significant drop in admission numbers to private institutions to the adoption of a new university funding model.

The new model replaces the previous model where the government provided grants to universities that admitted government-sponsored students.

In contrast the incoming model will see the government provide subsidies to students tuition fees through scholarships and student loans.

However, under the arrangement, private universities will not be eligible for the scholarships. This means students joining private universities will only benefit from student loans.

Kenya Association of Private Universities chairman Stephen Mbugua noted that the decision had greatly affected admission numbers in private universities with some institutions getting less than 10 students.

Close shop

The dip in numbers, Prof Mbugua indicates, could force some private institutions to close shop.

"The numbers are so low that they are not sustainable to make our universities move to the next five years," Mbugua said in an interview with The Standard on Tuesday.

In this year's placement, male students scooped slightly more university places with 76,971 (54.9 per cent) of the total admissions.

On the other hand, there were 66,136 female students.