Ruto Breaks Silence on HELB Loan Delay, Updates on Disbursement

President William Ruto speaking at State House Nairobi on March 20, 2023.
President William Ruto speaking at State House Nairobi on March 20, 2023.
William Ruto

President William Ruto on Thursday, March 23, clarified widespread concerns over the lack of funds for the High Education Loans Board (HELB).

Speaking while addressing students at the Kisii National Polytechnic, Ruto stated that the government disbursed the funds to the board two weeks ago. 

As such, the President assured all students that the funds would reach them soon to ensure the smooth progress of their studies. 

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.

“I want to announce that in the last two weeks, we have allocated funds to the HELB now you can continue with your studies without constraints," Ruto stated to the applause of students at Kisii Polytechnic. 

"All those (eligible) for the loan will get the funds so that you can continue with education without hiccups."

The President's assurance came on the back of concerns raised after the HELB officials told Members of Parliament that over 14,000 students in institutions of higher learning were staring at missing the loans. 

Speaking while appearing before the National Assembly Committee on Education, HELB Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera revealed that the Board had a deficit of Ksh5.7 billion in the funds needed to disburse loans to students across the country. 

Ringera explained that HELB had exhausted the Ksh4.5 billion allocated by the National Treasury in a previous budget hence complicating the hopes of the students in universities and TVETs. 

“Currently we have 140,000 students in TVETS and universities that we have not been able to fund to the tune of Ksh5.7 billion," Ringera told the MPs. 

The development came at a time fate of the fund was uncertain after President Ruto announced that his government was mulling changing HELB’s operations.

In early 2023, the President announced plans to abolish HELB and instead establish a national council that would cater for the needs of students in both universities and colleges.

Further, the President announced that his government would scrap interest on the education loans and double the funds allocated for supporting students in institutions of higher learning. 

“This immediately doubles the current Higher Education Loans Board funding from Sh11 billion to Sh22 billion and eliminates interest on Helb loans," Ruto stated. 

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