At least 8,200 applications for funding to join tertiary institutions had been received as of August 11, 2023 - Universities Fund Chief Executive Geoffrey Monari said.
According to Monari, Ksh19.6 billion is the available funding for scholarships to new learners joining higher education this academic year while Ksh34.1 billion will go towards financing continuing students under Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) this financial year.
The government will avail both scholarships and loans for 130,485 students in public universities and 9,662 in private universities will get loans only.
“We want to assure everyone that we will not leave anyone out, we will closely monitor this process to the end. We want to accommodate everyone because funds are available and if you are to change the programme, the money will follow you unlike under DUC,” Monari said during a media workshop on university funding.
Monari urged the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) students to apply for funding in good time saying that the monies are available to allow students to pursue higher education.
The CEO also explained that no student will miss funding because the number of students estimated is higher than the ones that were placed.
He said applications are currently underway, with the deadline set for August 27 to allow collating of information and subsequent allocations as the new academic year starts next month.
“We all know that many of us wait until the last minute to apply and others may even assume they will apply at the university and get the loan and scholarship immediately, so we are forestalling that at the benefit of the students to ensure they apply in good time so that we can also process and universities can receive these students,” he said.
And added: “Again, we cannot force everyone to apply because I would have been placed and I’m able to pay. It does not mean that the applications will be 100 per cent even from past records some students opt not to apply but we want to accommodate every student because funds are available for them.”
With the new funding model, Monari said that each university will have greater autonomy and enable them to address their individual needs based on size, location and areas of specialization.
“Funding will be based on measurable performance criteria such as student retention, research output and graduate employability. Government-sponsored student scholarships will be made available to increase access to higher education and promote socio-economic development,” he explained.
It is also expected to encourage universities to form partnerships with the private sector to increase investment in higher education, build facilities and support research and innovation.
The New Funding Model (NFM) has delinked placement and funding of students, with placement by Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) based on merit and choice.
Under the current system of funding, there is a uniform grant based on the DUC of the programme and a graduated scale for loans and bursaries based on the level of need while in NFM, the Means Testing Instrument (MTI) will determine the level of funding for Government scholarships, loans and bursaries.
Monari also explained that under the current system, the cost-sharing model is 80 per cent of DUC by University Funding Board (UFB) and 20 per cent of DUC by Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), households and others though the scholarships funding has never attained the 80 per cent threshold.
But under NFM, the new ratio of funding covers actual programme cost, comprising 61 per cent of Government scholarships, 36 per cent of Government loans and 7 per cent of households.
“Under the current status, the public is not aware of the funding component paid by the Ministry of Education on behalf of the Government while the new status is that the actual programme cost will be disclosed to the student upon receiving an admission letter from the respective university. Students are also allowed to apply centrally for Government loans, scholarships and bursaries,” he explained.
How to apply
The new application portal, accessible at www.hef.co.ke was opened on August 3.
Of the 2022 KCSE graduates, at least 45,000 university and 42,000 TVET students categorized as vulnerable and extremely needy will be fully funded with the Government scholarship and loans.