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Top counties in list of Helb beneficiaries

EDUCATION
By Augustine Oduor | October 23rd 2021

Students at the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) offices in Anniversary Towers, Nairobi. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Kakamega and Bungoma counties have the highest number of beneficiaries of student loans, according to a Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) report for this year.

The report, which says the government is spending Sh14.4 billion to fund 354,069 students in public universities, shows counties in North Eastern and Coast got the least number of beneficiaries.

The Helb report shows Kakamega County ranks top, with 23,967 beneficiaries in public universities getting Sh870.93 million loan in the year 2020/2021.

It is followed by Bungoma County where 18,116 students got Sh725.06 million while Nakuru is third with 16,888 students getting Sh684.9 million and Homa Bay fourth with 16, 811 learners benefiting from Sh698.41, according to the report.

Kisii, which has 16,753 beneficiaries, closes the top five counties. They got Sh679.47 million. 

Bomet has 13,204, Siaya has 13,141, Kisumu 12,969 while 12, 210 students from Nairobi benefited from Helb loans.

HELB Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera said the fund has been working with counties to develop revolving funds to support students from their regions. 

“We have been giving them analyses of courses being studied by these students,” he said, adding that this enables county governments to use the data for the planning purposes.

Other counties that have more than 10,000 beneficiaries of Helb loans are Makueni (11,609), Kericho (11,885), Kiambu (11,285), Meru (11,039), Uasin Gishu (11,198), Kitui (10,714) and Migori (10,476).

Machakos, Trans Nzoia, Nyamira, Busia, Nandi and Muranga counties have about 9,000 beneficiaries.

Garissa has 71, Mandera 72, Tana River 272 while Isiolo closes the bottom five with 268 students who benefited from Helb loans.

Lamu County has 284, Marsabit 523, Samburu 863, closing the category of counties with less than 1,000 beneficiaries.

HELB sponsors students in public and private universities following a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta. MPs recently called for a reversal of the policy due to the financial strain facing public universities, which has forced them to restructure key operations. 

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