Students Miss Out On Loans As Helb Suffers Financially

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HELB Offices/photo courtesy

140,000 students in public universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges have missed out on loans after the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) ran out of cash.

“Currently we have 140,000 students in Tvets and universities that we have not been able to fund to the tune of Sh5.7 billion because we have run out of the budget that we had presented to Treasury of Sh4.5 billion,” said Helb chief executive Charles Ringera.

Helb said that the students will have to wait till the Treasury releases Sh5.7 billion for onward disbursement to them.

This means parents and guardians we have to seek for other alternatives to pay tuition fees for their children.

Last year, Helb was also not able to fund 75,000 students when the Treasury delayed disbursements of Sh3 billion.

Helb is supposed to be a revolving fund in which beneficiaries who have completed studies pay back to support a fresh group of students.

This has, however, not been the case in an economic setting that is plagued by a hiring freeze on the back of sluggish corporate earnings.

“The quarter exchequer release is about Sh3 billion while what Helb has collected by that time is Sh1.2 billion, totaling to around Sh4.2 billion, which is way below the Sh7 billion required to adequately service loan applications,” he said.

To address the mismatch, Helb and the Treasury signed a deal where disbursements will be made every six months rather than every four months.

This is because of the many defaulters and the increased number of students who are now qualifying for the Helb loan.

BY MARGARET MUGO

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