Fees shocker for university students
Starting on Thursday, students who have been admitted to universities and other higher institutions will be able to apply for financial aid for their study through the recently launched Higher study Financing Portal.
This clearly signals the end of the government-sponsored higher education that students have hitherto received without consideration to their financial situation. Prior to the start of the academic year at universities and technical and vocational education and training (Tvet) institutions in September, students now have just one month to submit their financing applications.
Government loans, bursaries, and scholarships will be used to pay for tuition, with more emphasis being placed on the former for individuals who are vulnerable and extremely poor. Less needy individuals will receive more loans, and more needy individuals will receive fewer scholarships.
Additionally, as they did in the past through the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb), students will submit loan applications to support their living expenses while they are enrolled in classes. The new platform will now be used for all scholarship, loan, and bursary applications.
Students who don’t qualify for government aid or who don’t receive enough of it will have to pay more for their education out of pocket.
The government designed and completed the Higher Education Financing Portal to receive applications for scholarships, loans, and bursaries for university and Tvet students since the presidential decree of May 3, 2023 on the start of the new funding model. When releasing the placement results at the Kenya School of Government yesterday, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu stated that students who need financial aid must properly apply through the Higher Education Financing Portal.
Consequently, I am ordering vice chancellors and principals to make sure that admission letters be distributed by August 2, 2023. This would make it possible for students to apply for loans and bursaries between August 3, 2023, and August 27, 2023 at midnight, he said.
The CS stated that a Means Testing Instrument (MTI), which he characterised as scientific and dependable, will be used to establish the degree of financial need of pupils.
However, Mr. Machogu stated that continuing students would not be impacted by this funding scheme and would instead continue to receive their funds in accordance with the current government plan.
According to Mr Machogu, of the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates who are eligible for placement, over 45,000 university students and 42,000 Tvet candidates fall into the vulnerable and extremely needy category and are therefore eligible for full funding through government loans and bursaries.
A maximum grant of 82% of the programme cost and 18% in the form of a loan are given to needy students. A maximum grant of 70% of the cost of tuition and 30% in the form of a loan will be given to students in the greatest need.
“Through 100% government funding, students from low-income households will have an equal opportunity to pursue higher education and a career in the military. Accordingly, their families won’t be required to contribute anything to the program’s cost, and the student will also receive maintenance from the loan, according to Mr. Machogu.
A maximum grant of 53% of the programme cost and a maximum of 40% in the form of a loan would be given to students in the needy category. Additionally, the percentages will change based on each participant’s MTI evaluation.
Fees shocker for university students
The cost of the programme a student is accepted into affects how much financial aid they will receive. varying courses cost varying amounts at universities. The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) obliged them to disclose the prices before students submitted placement applications. Additionally, universities had to offer a 15% discount on the total cost of all curricula.
For instance, a medical degree at Kenyatta University (KU), Kisii University, Moi University, and the University of Nairobi (UoN) will cost Sh612,000, Sh461,210, Sh612,000, and Sh539,750, respectively.
At KU, a pharmacy degree costs Sh428,000, whereas at Kisii University, it costs Sh418,710. The cost is estimated as Sh413,950 by UoN. While UoN costs Sh521,050 for the course, Moi University charges Sh612,000 to its students.
The cheapest university degree is a bachelor’s in the arts. The annual tuition at KU is Sh153,000, Kisii University is Sh122,485, Moi is Sh153,000, and UoN is Sh160,653.
The Universities Fund, Helb, and KUCCPS collaborated to develop the placement and funding strategy. Charles Ringera, the CEO of Helb, claimed that compared to the prior system, which was based on equality, the new model will increase equity in higher education finance.
In the previous arrangement, students could only apply for student loans through Helb, and universities were handled by the University Fund. It used the differentiated unit cost, which is based on the cost of a programme, to distribute the capitation grant directly to the institutions.
Students who were not placed in their preferred curricula or universities reacted negatively to the revelation of the results.
Agnes Mercy Wahome, chief executive of KUCCPS, asserted that the placement was solely determined by merit and choice.
“I feel let down and perplexed. What is possible, and what can we do? My son received [an 84-point grade of A]. He was assigned to the Technical University of Mombasa for the Diploma in Medical Engineering, lamented a father.