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University, TVET scholarships portal now open

 TVET PS Esther Muhoria (left), Education CS Ezekiel Machogu (centre), and Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang. [Robert Tomno, Standard]

Students joining universities, colleges and technical institutions can now apply for government funding to support their education.

The Ministry of Education said the application website is open for the 2024 scholarships and loans for new university and college entrants.

This makes them the second group of students who will receive government financial aid for their education under a new funding model that was rolled out to universities and colleges last year.

The aid comes in two forms Scholarships and loans.

The application was set to reopen on June 14, but Education CS Ezekiel Machogu said this was postponed due to the Muslim festival of Idd Ul Adha which was consequently declared a national holiday.

“In solidarity with our Muslim fraternity, the Ministry of Education decided to move the portal opening date from Saturday, June 15, 2024, to Tuesday, June 17,” a press statement by the Education CS reads.

Some 285,167 students secured placements in various institutions, including universities, colleges, certificate, craft, and artisan courses across 282 training institutions in the country.

Out of this, a total of 140,107 students will join degree courses.

The lion’s share of the students some 130,485 will be joining public universities, making them eligible for both Scholarships and Loans in state funding.

Private universities on the other hand got only 9,622 students. They will only get a chance to apply for student loans through the Higher Education and Loans Board (HELB).

“We wish to assure all parents and guardians and students that the government will allow sufficient time for all eligible students to apply for the funding in the form of Scholarships and loans in the spirit of leaving no one behind,” Machogu’s statement reads.

The new funding model took effect in universities and colleges in September last year.

The categorization of financial needs will be determined using a reliable scientific method called the Means Testing Instrument to ensure adequate support.

However, the funding model which the Ministry of Education and university heads say will gradually solve the problem of funding in universities has come under sharp criticism in the recent past.

A parliamentary committee on June 4 poked holes into the funding model pushing the Higher Education Principal Secretary Beatrice Inyangala to explain criteria used to place students in different bands for the issuance of scholarships and loans.

The committee also asked all universities to recall admission letters issued to students joining the university this year for misleading university fee figures.

The committee observed that the university admission letters showed the total cost of the course a student is admitted to.

This, the MPs say, has been confused as the total cost a parent is expected to pay.

The MPs want the admission letter to break down the total fee reflecting how it will be covered by scholarships, loans and the final amount the parent or guardian should pay.

According to MPs, fails to reflect the amount that the government will pay, what the loan will take care of and

While announcing the 2024 universities and colleges placement results in July Machogu emphasized that for the first time, students from households at the bottom of the pyramid will have equal opportunities in accessing university and TVET education through 100 per cent Government Funding.

He said the students' households are not required to pay anything for the program cost, and the students will receive upkeep from the loan.

However, Machogu noted, that continuing students will not be affected by this new funding model and will continue to receive their funding based on the Government's existing model.

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