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75000 First-Year Students Miss HELB Loans

The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB)
The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB)

The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) has announced that more than 75,000 freshmen at different universities across the country will not be able to obtain their loans despite successful applications.

On Thursday, February 3, HELB Chief Financial Officer Mary Wachira told the National Assembly Education Committee that affected victims should expect the Treasury to offer KSh 3 billion for the first payment in June.

“We currently have 75,000 freshmen who are not yet funded and we need KSh 3 billion to process their applications,” Wachira said.

According to Wachira, insufficient cash allocation and delayed release by the Treasury triggered a cash crunch amid growing defaults by former college students in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The delay now means that new college and college freshmen must find alternative ways to meet their tuition, accommodation and care needs.

Helb offers loans ranging from 35,000 to 60,000 per academic year per student, depending on their financial ability and economic background.
helb bill

In August last year, a committee of the National Assembly rejected changes to the higher education law that cut interest on student loans to three percent, and the grace period for repayment was increased to five years.

Currently, beneficiaries start paying back a year after completing studies or risk being blacklisted with credit reference bureaus for default. The short payback period has been attributed to the growing list of defaults.

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