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State owes us Sh31b student tuition fees, say universities



 The Management University of Africa (MUA) Professor Washington Okeyo makes a speech during the launch of Newspaper in Education and  MUA Talent Art Festival in Kisajis, Kajiado County. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The future of more than 68,000 state-sponsored students hangs in the balance after government funding for private universities dipped.

Kenya Association of Private Universities (Kapu) has written to Education CS Ezekiel Machogu over a Sh31 billion they claim the government is yet to release to the universities.

In the letter, Kapu said the government has allocated a mere 10 per cent of the required tuition fees in the 2024/2025 financial year. This, the association said, has affected the provision of education to students enrolled in private institutions.

The private universities said the money represents accumulated half-payments from previous years.

“Many programmes are costly and private universities are struggling to educate government-sponsored students,” said Kapu Treasurer Washington Okeyo.

In the letter, Prof Okeyo said the universities have been allocated only Sh1,774,791,604 to finance government-sponsored students for the financial year 2024/2025, an amount representing only 10.12 per cent of the students’ tuition fees needs.

Initially, the government was to pay up to 80 per cent of the fees under a now-defunct funding model known as Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC).

This drastic reduction comes after private universities were excluded from enrolling state-sponsored students last year. Kapu warned that even those already enrolled face an uncertain future, burdened with the prospect of shouldering the cost of their education.

This financial burden, coupled with the slashed funding, threatens to push these institutions to the brink of collapse, jeopardising the education of thousands of state-sponsored students in private universities.

The Kapu letter, dated February 21, seeks the intervention of Machogu to increase the allocation to at least 30 per cent of the student fees.

“We shall appreciate your intervention on this matter for the sake of the Kenyan students studying in private universities,” it reads.

The Education Ministry began the placement of students in private universities in 2016 after a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta. In six years, the government sent about 88,000 state-sponsored students to private universities, a document presented in Parliament shows.

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