The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) has put 85,000 Kenyans on notice as they stand to get listed on the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) list if they fail to pay their loans.
Speaking at a conference on Wednesday, May 19, HELB CEO Charles Ringera noted that the unpaid loans amounted to Ksh9.5 billion.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, HELB Communications Director, Wavi Muigai noted that plans are in place to ensure the defaulters pay.
"They will be listed on CRB, and there are penalties, Ksh5,000 a month according to the HELB Act. People pay monthly and we keep tabs of those who pay every day," Muigai stated.
She also clarified that penalties are enacted a year after one graduates. If the loanee defaults for six months consecutively, they are added to the CRB list. Muigai also pointed out that the tally (85,000) loanees have been recorded since HELB's inception in 1995.
"We primarily don't wait for a particular time because people graduate at different times," Muigai stated.
Further, during the conference, the board officially took over the Afya Elimu Fund (AEF) in a move aimed at offering scholarships to the needy.
AEF is a loan scheme that has supported over 48,188 students with a total of Ksh3.06 billion fund- surpassing the initial target of Ksh2 billion, according to Ringera.
“The vision of AEF at inception was to grow the Fund to Ksh2 billion by the year 2021 and we have clearly surpassed the target. Further, we have over 11,000 beneficiaries who have graduated.
"Recovery of these loans began in the Financial Year 2019/2020 and over Ksh200 million has been recovered to date,” Ringera stated.
AEF initially began as a scholarship scheme that targeted 341 trainees in the health sector from marginalised areas. It was later converted into a loan scheme in the financial year 2013/2014.
Past reports indicated that the number of Kenyans who defaulted on the loan increased during the Covid-19 period by 55 percent.
Ringera attributed the cause of this to mass layoffs during the stipulated period.