HELB Extends Penalty Waiver

HELB CEO Ringera
HELB CEO Charles Ringera Gives An Address At A Past Event at Sarova PanAfric

The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) has extended the Covid-19 pandemic waiver to loan defaulters to June 30, 2022.

In a statement dated May 4, 2022, the Board’s CEO Charles Ringera announced that the 100 percent waiver that was to end on April 30, would now run for two more months.

HELB introduced the waiver following economic fallout that saw millions of Kenyans lose their livelihoods, making it hard for the beneficiaries to continue repaying their loans.

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

"Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kenya just like many other countries globally has experienced a slowing down of the economy over the last 2 years.

"We acknowledge that unemployment and underemployment as well as a challenging environment for loanees to start and run businesses, has affected HELB loan repayment", read the statement in part.

The move will see HELB beneficiaries exempted from the late repayment fine for an additional two months.

Ringera however noted that the Board is confronting funding gaps, hampering its ability to sponsor more students.

"Coupled with inadequate funding from the Exchequer has inadvertently created a funding challenge for students seeking HELB loans," he stated.

On May 3 2018 HELB announced a similar waiver that was only applicable to those who paid the loan in a lump sum. 

The 2018 move, however, was aimed at boosting repayments, unlike the current window which is meant to cushion loanees from the Covid-19 pandemic.

There has been low compliance with loan repayment, partly because of high unemployment levels in the country.

Higher education financing has also caught the attention of politicians as the country gears up for the August 9 elections. For instance, Deputy President and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential flag-bearer William Ruto has promised to make HELB a grant should he be elected as the 5th Head of State.

Deputy President William Ruto arriving at the late President Mwai Kibaki's burial in Othaya on April 30, 2022.
Deputy President William Ruto arriving at the late President Mwai Kibaki's burial in Othaya on April 30, 2022.