Safaricom has signed a partnership with the Higher Loans Education Board (HELB) that will allow students to receive their loans through M-PESA.
According to a press release by Safaricom on March 2, the deal will aid HELB to promote responsible spending with the funds locked for specific allocations, such as tuition or library fees only accessible to the specific Paybill account of the recipient's university or TVET institution.
The students' upkeep allowance can now also be transferred into the student’s M-PESA wallet for everyday use.Safaricom Chief Financial Services Officer, Sitoyo Lopokoiyit (left) and HELB CEO Charles Ringera (right) signing a partnership on mobile disbursements under HELB through M-Pesa during its official launch at the CEO’S lounge on March 2, 2021File
“Technology today is not only revolutionizing every aspect of our lives but also creating opportunities to enhance efficiency and accountability. We are pleased to support the Higher Education Loans Board to deploy a solution that suits the digital lifestyle of students in tertiary institutions,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Chief Financial Services Officer, Safaricom.
Students can access the system through HELB USSD and the mobile app once completed from where they will view their loan allocations, current balances, statements and make payments.
HELB disburses over Ksh 15 billion to over 200,000 beneficiaries annually. Part of the loan is usually channelled directly to the learning institution to settle part of the tuition and accommodation fees while the rest is sent to the student for upkeep.
The solution will create efficiencies for all stakeholders by reducing queues during registration as students can now pay through their mobile phones. There will be effective management and monitoring of all loans throughout the loan lifecycle.
“The rollout of this smart solution marks a major milestone in our digitisation journey. It not only enhances efficiency in our operations, but also enables us to step up the experience of beneficiaries, who are digital natives. The solution will allow the student to access and make transactions within the solution’s ecosystem,” said Charles Ringera, HELB’s Chief Executive Officer.
The platform grants HELB visibility of funds from various sources, which it can aggregate, reconcile real-time and report to its financiers. Continuing students can receive notifications and utilise a financial planning tool on the portal; while those who have graduated can track their repayments and generate statements.
HELB plans on investing in artificial intelligence (AI) to serve our customers similar to Zuri from Safaricom.
This would enable the organisation to reach customers in Pemba and Manda island, same with Moyale, Erwak, Sabaret, Sololo, Marsabit, Laisamis, Maikoma, Kargi, North Horr, Kakuma, Lokichogio, Mandera, Wajir etc.
Traditionally, HELB has depended on government capitation for funding. Lately, however, there has been pressure to shift dependence from government capitation to recoveries and mobilization of external resources.
During the financial year 2020/2021 the Gross HELB budget estimate is Ksh 16.86 billion made up of Ksh 11.3 billion government capitation and Ksh 5.5 billion Appropriation in Aid (A-I-A). This is against the backdrop of the social-economic challenges currently facing the country, especially the Covid-19 pandemic.Kenyans waiting for service at Helb offices.File
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