Govt Changes HELB Loan Application Guidelines

File Photo of Students Lining up to Submit Their HELB Details at Anniversary Towers Nairobi
File photo of students lining up to submit their HELB details at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi County.

The national government is mulling plans to change the application procedure of the Higher Educations Loans Board (HELB).

In the latest raft of measures, the government is seeking to have those who have been locked out of the process guaranteed access.

In the new proposal contained in the Higher Education Loans (Amendment) 2021, students without National Identity Cards will be allowed to apply for the loans.

Helb Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera
HELB Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera addressing the media in November 2019.
The Standard

This means that students will be able to apply for the loans using their parent's National Identity Cards where their parents will be listed as co-signatories.

Currently, applicants below 18 years are locked out exposing them to financial hurdles while disrupting their studies.

HELB loan applicants are required to provide their national ID numbers as well as that of their parents on the board's online portal.

“This will ensure that university students who have not attained the age of eighteen years and who do not yet have nation identification cards are allowed access to the higher education loans,” the memorandum of the Bill says.

HELB funds students with a loan of up to Ksh70,000 which is repaid after applicants graduate. The loans are expected to cater for tuition and personal needs.

The move is a relief for thousands of students who had in the past been locked out of the application process forcing them to seek an alternative source of funding.

In September, thousands of students missed out for failing to have ID cards prompting the national government to intervene.

The repayment of the loan in recent times has proven to be a headache to most students with the government  proposing a new law to deal with that.

In the latest move, the University Fund, which is tasked with determining money released to the institutions, is seeking to compel public institutions of higher learning to secure jobs for graduates.

According to the proposal, universities whose graduates fail to secure jobs within four years of graduation will have their funds slashed.

“Performance-based funding is funding aimed at allocating a portion of universities education budget according to specific performance measures. It makes funding allocating more transparent and more competitive,” University Fund stated in its proposal.

“The key performance indicators to be considered will be four-year graduation rate, graduate employability rate (one year after graduation) and research inputs.”

This is aimed at ensuring most students apply for the loan and pay on time.

Kenyans waiting for service at Helb offices
Kenyans waiting for services at HELB offices in Nairobi County on May 4, 2019.