The Higher Education Loan Board (Helb) has asked the corporate sector to tighten its hiring procedures to ensure applicants and employees repay their education loan. This even as the board steps up measures to recover Sh9.5 billion in unpaid mature loan from 81,442 beneficiaries since 1974.
‘’We managed to recover a substantial amount this year especially from over 40,000 aspirants for political offices in the run up to last general elections. We appeal to the private sector to support the board in loan recovery and subsequent facilitation of tertiary education for needy students,’’ said HELB chief executive Charles Ringera yesterday.
He said Helb has supported 620,000 Kenyans pursue higher eduction since its inception 22 years ago at a total cost of Sh65 billion.
He added that the board has recovered Sh31 billion out of Sh40 billion of mature loan, Sh4.14 billion in the last financial year. At least 209,351 loanees are holding Sh20.04 billion which have not matured, Ringera said.
This academic year, Helb has a daunting task to fund over 245,000 students who applied for the kitty by end of last month. Out of this, 85,000 are first time applicants and the rest are continuing students who started reporting to college yesterday.
‘’Last year, we spent Ksh 10 billion to support 244,000 students. This year, we are targeting to use Ksh 11.3 billion. The government has allocated Ksh 7.7 billion and another Ksh 1.5 billion for external funders,’’ said Ringera.
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Considering that each student is given Helb’s minimum of Ksh 42,000, the board will require at least Ksh 10.29 billion to fund all applicants this academic year.
The Helb boss spoke while receiving a Sh65 million cheque for the Barclays scholarship programme launched yesterday at a Nairobi hotel.
The three year scholarship programme will benefit at least 430 needy students pursuing undergraduate degrees in local universities.
According to Barclays Kenya managing director Jeremy Awori, the bank will ensure that beneficiaries meet a 50:50 gender split and that at least 4 per cent of the beneficiaries will be persons living with disabilities.
The scholarship is part of a Ksh 12.5 billion Pan African initiative steered by Barclays Africa’s Group chief Maria Ramos to support the education and skills pillar.