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Students sensitised on HELB scholarships,loans

Students, parents, and education stakeholders in Uriri Sub County, Migori County have undergone a sensitization forum on how to apply for Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) loans and scholarships.

The forum, which was organised by the Office of Uriri Member of Parliament, Mark Nyamita, aimed to address the concerns and issues raised by students in applying for the HELB scholarship and loan.

The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) Official Collins Sabato said that the sensitisation forum will enable the form four leavers to learn how best to apply for their career choices as per their KCSE performance as well as the HELB scholarships and loans.

Sabato said that there was a lot of misrepresentation on social media about the increase in university fees that was not really there. He was, however, optimistic that the forum would help address some of the misconceptions about college fees.

The official clarified that the HELB scholarship and loan will cover a large part of the college fees, but guardians will have to top up to complete the fee, depending on the needs of the students.

The new funding model for 2023 will see students from vulnerable and extremely needy households receive 100 per cent funding. The needy and less needy will get 93 per cent government funding and a paltry 7 per cent contribution from their households to cover the tuition fees.

Sabato also clarified that those students who applied for private university slots will only be eligible for HELB loans but not scholarships.

“HELB scholarship will only be available to students who applied for public university slots. The HELB scholarship is like a bursary, and the benefiting students will not pay it back”, disclosed Sabato.

He also disclosed that those students who did not apply for KUCCPS placement should do so through a formal letter requesting the placement addressed to the KUCCPS CEO for consideration.

Uriri Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Account Manager Moses Oduor said that KUCCPS and the HELB sensitisation forum will equip Form Four leavers with the necessary information on how to apply for courses as well as Helb scholarships and loans.

“This is a new process of applying for university and college fees, and it was important for the students to understand the process in order to make informed choices and the right way of doing things,” said Oduor.

The official affirmed that the Uriri CDF will work jointly with the HELB team and make informed choices on how to award bursaries to the students.

He said that the CDF team will award bursaries by considering the amount that the student will have obtained through the HELB scholarship and loan to ensure equity among the students.

Flavian Biance, a student and beneficiary of the forum, said that the sensitisation exercise will enable her to make informed choices when applying for the HELB scholarship and loan.

She said that the majority of parents in Migori are peasant farmers, and the little they get cannot fully cater for their children’s education.

Biance emphasised that the forum will enable the majority of students waiting to join various universities to be aware of what they are supposed to be doing in order to qualify for full HELB scholarships and loans.

By Geoffrey Makokha

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