Students get 1 more month to seek loans, scholarships

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Students applying for government scholarships and loans now have until October 7, after the Ministry of Education extended the application period by one month.

“I wish to direct the application period for loans and scholarships that was initially scheduled to lapse on September 7, 2023, has now been extended to October 7, 2023,” said Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu in a circular dated September 6.

Mr Machogu said the extension aims to provide eligible students with ample time to apply and ensure no one is left out due to the high demand for government funding in higher education.

The Cabinet Secretary instructed the Universities Fund (UF) and Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) to streamline the application process, thus ensuring the continuous processing and disbursement of scholarships and loans.

UF chief executive Geoffrey Monari Wednesday said that all government agencies are working together to accommodate all eligible students.

“We are not going to leave any student out. We are working with the ministry and other institutions to see how we will assist these students to apply for the funds,” he said

Monari said that currently, 156,632 students placed in universities and Technical Vocational and Education Training (Tvet) institutions have applied for scholarships and loans.
However, 100,000 students placed in degree programmes in universities have yet to apply for funding.

“We have about 10,000 students who were placed in private universities who are going to be issued with loans,” he said. Initially, the commission had targeted 130,000 learners to apply for scholarships, while 140,000 students sought loans from Helb.

Monari said under the new model, the government aims to fully fund 45,000 students, with households not required to contribute financially.

“We are trying to assist the community in the future to reduce the burden of loans by giving them higher scholarships. The vulnerable getting up to 82 per cent scholarship and 18 per cent loan.”

He said that the government will take one week and use tested means to categorise students into either vulnerable, extremely needy, needy, less needy.

Monari added that an appeals mechanism is being developed for students to request re-categorisation if they believe they should receive a higher amount of funding.

He urged the National Assembly to allocate additional funds in the supplementary budget to accommodate these changes and ensure the program’s success.