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New Funding Model for Higher Education; All You Should Know

New Funding Model for Higher Education; All You Should Know

A new funding model for higher education in Kenya is expected to generate increased competition among universities and colleges as they vie for students and funding.

Under the new model, funding will be directed to individual students rather than being sent directly to the institutions.

This change is likely to prompt universities and colleges to compete for relevance and attract students by offering courses that align with the job market.

The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps) CEO, Agnes Mercy Wahome, stated that the goal is to allocate more funds through loans, with the aim of having 80 percent of university education funded by loans and 20 percent by scholarships.

Transitioning from the previous funding model where the government covered 80 percent of the differentiated unit cost (DUC) of a course, the new funding model will have students contribute more from their own resources or through the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb).

Dr. Wahome emphasized the practicality of the new model, stating that it would provide better pay for lecturers and allow them to focus on research instead of taking on additional jobs.

The model aims to support vulnerable students by providing them with full government scholarships, loans, and bursaries, while students from less needy families will be required to pay more.

“If we burden the poor with huge loans at the end of their studies, it becomes a lifetime responsibility,” he said.

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To ensure sustainability, the new funding model intends to shift government support from automatic grants to student loans sustained by a revolving fund and scholarships.

Three higher education agencies, namely Kuccps, Helb, and the Universities Fund (UF), will jointly implement the model.

The UF’s Chief Executive, Geoffrey Monari, explained that the goal is to establish a sustainable revolving fund, as the previous DUC system resulted in universities accumulating significant debts that hindered their ability to pay salaries and fulfill financial obligations.

“Parents and students should take their time in making the decision, especially the cost component. They should not leave their information at cyber cafes but use Huduma centres, which are free,” Mr Monari said.

The UF is currently developing a higher education information management system that will track students’ progress and facilitate data sharing with relevant state agencies.

The model prioritizes the distribution of loans and scholarships based on students’ needs, with vulnerable students receiving more scholarships and less loans, and less needy students receiving higher loans and fewer scholarships.

Dr. Wahome expressed optimism about the stability and positive changes the new model will bring to higher education in the next five years.

The implementation of the new funding model will begin when students who have recently completed the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) tests join universities and technical and vocational education and training (Tvet) institutions in September.

Continuing learners will not be affected by the changes. Kuccps provided students with the annual costs of various programs to assist them in making informed choices.

Students and parents were advised to consider the cost component carefully when making decisions.

The UF and Helb will utilize means testing instruments (MTI) to determine students’ financial need levels for loan allocations.

Approximately 173,270 students from the 2022 KCSE examination class obtained the grades required for university admission.

Students opting for private universities will only be eligible for Helb loans and will not receive government scholarships.

The Helb lending head, Ndegwa King’ori, highlighted the need to address the issue of former students who have not repaid their loans to protect the financial portfolio of the agency.

The MTI will consider various factors, including the previous school attended, family composition, parents’ background, and expenditure on education for siblings, among others, to determine loan allocations.

The application process for scholarships and loans will begin in August after the release of placement results by Kuccps, with disbursement scheduled for the following month.

In addition to funding for tuition, students will also have the opportunity to apply for Helb loans to cover their living expenses.

The implementation of the new funding model is expected to revolutionize higher education in Kenya and provide stability for universities and colleges.

New Funding Model for Higher Education; All You Should Know

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