9,000 students choose to study in private universities

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

About 9, 000 students have shunned public universities and instead sought admission in private universities.

This decision disqualifies them from accessing government scholarships but they will be eligible to get a study loan from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).

The number is however, almost similar to those previously placed by the Kenya Universities and Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) under government sponsorship.

This comes after MPs, public universities vice chancellors and other government agencies pitched a strong case against State funding of the students placed in private universities.

Some students also opted to apply directly to the private universities and this may push up the numbers in the private institutions.

In the six years, the government sent 86,270 state-sponsored students to private universities, a document presented in Parliament shows.

In 2016, the institutions admitted 10,984 students while in 2017 admission was 17,363, 2018 (12,656), 2019 (17,511), 2020 (27,756) and in 2021(12,000). 

This further hints at the return of the parallel programmes.

The introduction of government-sponsored students to private universities was first proposed in 2014 through a sessional paper looking to reform the financially troubled university sector.

Uhuru directive

The Education ministry in 2016 rolled it out following a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

While announcing the placement process Machogu further asked universities to engage the students with details on admission and reporting.

Under the new funding formula, to access loans and scholarships, students will be required to make a formal application through the Higher Education Financing portal accessible at www.hef.co.ke.

This effectively will mark an end of the former funding model where the government funded all students that scored a C+ (Plus) and above.

Under the formula, the students will receive state funding based on their family financial background as well as the cost of university programs.

President William Ruto announced that the four categories under which students will be funded will consider whether they are either vulnerable, extremely needy, needy or less needy.

The vulnerable will receive 100 per cent scholarship with the government scholarship standing at 82 per cent while the loan takes 18 per cent.

The extremely needy students will receive 70 per cent of government scholarships while the loans will contribute to 30 per cent of the tuition fee.