The government has released Sh.5.2 billion for university loans for first year students in the 2023/2024 academic year.
Speaking at Kisii University on the outskirts of Kisii town on Tuesday, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said the Ministry had completed the process of determining and allocating funds to the students depending on their needs.
“As I promised first years, we have been doing some analysis and it has taken time in order to determine which student should be given what amount, and the exercise was completed last week,” Machogu said.
Notably, he affirmed the students will be required to repay the loan for a specified number of years once they secure employment.
The Cabinet Secretary said they had identified students from poor backgrounds who cannot pay any amount of money once they report to university and the government would provide for that in the form of scholarship.
Machogu said the government was using the Means Testing Instrument (MTI) to scientifically determine the need levels of students and those from vulnerable households would pay only 5 percent of the cost of a program.
This system will replace the Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) method that required the government to support 80 percent of a programme for students currently in their second, third, and fourth years.
“The previous system was not workable and we had to come up with a formula that will be able to serve Kenyans and particularly, those disadvantaged students who come from families that cannot raise the fees,” the CS said.
He noted the challenge of accommodation in universities adding that the government had initiated an affordable student housing project at Kisii University where they would construct a 10,000-capacity hostel at the institution starting next year.
The CS pointed out that they had issued capitation money to all the public universities in order for them to clear some of the pending bills that have continued to derail the progress of the institutions for years.
Machogu called upon the universities to focus on the core functions and consider downsizing of employees adding that only teaching staff should be recruited at the institutions when necessary.
On his part, Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary (PS), Charles Hinga noted that Kisii University will be the first beneficiary of affordable student accommodation and the project will solve the housing challenges currently being faced by the students.
Hinga said the project will bring dignity to the students and ensure they focus on learning instead of worrying about their security.
The PS added that the hostel will accommodate other amenities such as dining facilities, a cooking area, and designated areas for socializing.
He added the government had already secured Sh16.24 billion through the housing levy by October and the fund was growing every month by about Sh5.5 billion.
Hinga noted the need for a remedial plan for Kisii County in order to solve the land challenges in the county by creating available land for human settlement as well as agricultural activities.
By Mercy Osongo