Ruto Slams Rich Kenyans After Criticism for Changing HELB Model


President William Ruto has hit out at a section of wealthy and salaried Kenyans who criticised his revised model of distributing funds from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to tertiary students.

Attending a church service in Riruta on Sunday, the Head of State indicated that murmurs from some wealthy individuals disgruntled over his new HELB formulae had been brought to his attention.

In the new formulae, the Head of State had revised university fees upwards and changed the criteria through which students would benefit from the funding. Some of the students stood to gain 100 per cent scholarship while others would be required to foot the bill or get loans to fund their studies.

“We have added money to educate our TVET and University students. We have decided that we will not send money to universities for the students, we shall give the students scholarships,” he explained.

A photo collage of HELB CEO Charles Ringera speaking at an event on April 27, 2023 (left) and students seeking services from HELB offices in Nairobi County (right).

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HELB

“We will figure out the needy students so that we can give them 100 per cent scholarships. Kenya is for all of us and we must factor in everybody.”

Ruto, however, maintained that the new formulae targeted children from poor households. The new funding will cover both University as well as Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) students.

“There are leaders who claim the model demands students to foot the fees in universities. Listen, the people I want to pay their full school fees are the children of these wealthy people and of those with a salary. (The fees) is not a lot of money, it is Ksh25,000 per semester,” he added.

“You (wealthy people) used to pay Ksh200,000 school fees for students in academies and expensive high schools yet you complain about paying Ksh25,000 in the university.”

In May, the Head of State after receiving recommendations from the Education task force led by Prof Raphael Munavu, indicated that universities will no longer receive the capitation per student.

“Universities and TVETS will no longer receive block funding in the form of capitation based on a Differentiated Unit Cost. Funding to students shall combine scholarships, loans and household contributions on a graduated scale,” Ruto stated at the time.

Later, Education CS Ezekiel Machogu noted that several factors will be considered in determining students who get full scholarships and those who will be eligible for loans.

“The means testing instrument is very broad. It has 8 variables which have been used over the years and it is being strengthened, linked to other databases so that the results are more valid and reliable,” he explained.

The means testing will include: parent background, gender, course type, previous school type, expenditure on education, family size and composition, marginalisation, and disability.

Additionally, the PS noted that funding for university courses will be based on 4 criteria which are: performance and choice of programme, household income bands, affirmative action, and government priority areas.

Furthermore, vulnerable students will get more in terms of scholarships and less money in loans while able students will get more loans and less scholarship.

The government will provide 59% scholarships, 34% loan, while the student will pay only 7%.

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu announcing the Form One Placement at KICD on January 16, 2023.

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HELB





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