Merger of placement and funding bodies gives students hope

Higher Education Loans Board CEO Charles Ringera. [David Gichuru, Standard]

A new dawn is beckoning in students’ placement and financing as the education reforms team has approved the merger of key placement and funding bodies.

The team also seems to have agreed with President William Ruto’s suggestion that student funding should support the most vulnerable, while financial help for the rest should be graduated to assist all learners.

The Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER) has affirmed that the funding of students should be based on their level of need, divided into four categories: vulnerable, extremely needy, needy, and less needy.

To illustrate how the funding will work, let’s consider a student from each of the proposed four categories, all admitted to pursue a Bachelor of Law at JKUAT. Under the new funding model, the Law programme at JKUAT is pegged at Sh238,208.

A student from a vulnerable home will have their tuition fees fully paid. This is because they will receive Sh195,330 as a government scholarship, which is equal to 82 per cent of the fees.

The student will receive an additional Sh42,877 as a student loan, which accounts for 18 per cent of the total cost.

As for the second student, classified as extremely needy, the government will provide a 70 per cent scholarship, amounting to Sh166,745. Additionally, the student will receive Sh71,463 as a loan, equivalent to 30 per cent of the cost.

Moving on to the fourth student from needy households, upon joining the university, they will receive government scholarships covering a maximum of 53 per cent, along with loans totaling up to 40 percent. Their households will only be responsible for paying 7 per cent.

Consequently, this student will receive Sh126,250 in government scholarships and Sh95,283 in student loans, while the parent will pay Sh16,674 as direct fees.

The fourth student, categorised as less needy, will be funded through a government scholarship, covering a maximum of 38 per cent of the program’s cost, and loans accounting for 55 per cent. The parents will only contribute 7 per cent as fees. In practical terms, this student will receive Sh90,519 as a government scholarship, Sh131,014 as loans, and Sh16,674 as direct fees.

President William Ruto has already issued clear instructions in this regard, and the plan will be implemented starting from September when the new admissions come into effect.

The task force has also adopted a new proposal, which involves merging all higher education funding entities and placing them under a single body.

If approved, the Higher Education Loans Board, the Universities Fund, and the Technical and Vocational Education Funding Board will be consolidated into one entity.

Furthermore, the reforms team aims for the new body to assume the responsibility of student placement, which is currently handled by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service.

According to the draft report, the reforms team suggests developing the Tertiary Education Placement and Funding Bill, establishing the Tertiary Education Placement and Funding Board, with KUCCPS, HELB, and TVETFB as directorates.

[email protected]