Why 75,000 Students Risk Missing HELB Loan

  • Kenyans waiting for service at Helb offices
    Kenyans waiting for service at Helb offices.
    File
  • The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) has raised concerns that 75,000 students who heavily depend on State financing could miss out on the funds.

    According to HELB CEO Charles Ringera, thousands of students who benefitted from the funds have failed to pay back nearly Ksh10 billion pushing the Board into a financial crisis.

    Ringera says they have given beneficiaries up to June when the amnesty window expires to have repaid loans.

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

    Ringera stated that HELB is facing a tough time as 107,000 students have defaulted on their loans, making it impossible to finance students who are currently in need of the money. 

    The HELB CEO noted that there is a problem with students who are migrating as well as those who have blatantly refused to make payments even after they announced a waiver.

    "Some of them have faced challenges such as Covid, unemployment and underemployment are also very real challenges to them. But we have also seen a tendency of migration for greener pastures, particularly in Northern America," he stated.

    "If you don't repay the loan or come for a discussion with us, the law says we charge your account a penalty of Ksh5,000 for being in default and also not being where you are," he added.

    Ringera called on the defaulters to take advantage of the penalty waiver period which expires on June 30.

    On March 1, Ringera issued a statement, announcing that the Board had resolved to give a 100 per cent penalty waiver to all loanees.

    The waiver period ran from Tuesday, March 1 to April 30, 2022. According to Ringera, the mpaign is an appreciation extended to the beneficiaries for their efforts in repaying their loans despite the hard economic times occasioned by the ravages of the pandemic.

    The move is also aimed at encouraging loanees to make lump sum repayments during the waiver period.

    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 Nairobi
    File

    "It is important for all beneficiaries to honour their obligation as stipulated in the loan application terms and conditions so as to empower the dreams of another needy student," Ringera reiterated.

    The Board has previously noted that it 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," the CEO stated in early May, while announcing waiver extension.