State starts auditing private universities’ fee structures

Universities Fund Board CEO Geoffrey Monari.

Universities Fund Board CEO Geoffrey Monari. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A government agency has started auditing fee structures of private universities admitting State-sponsored students in a bid to streamline funding to the institutions.

The Universities Funding Board (UFB) has written to vice-chancellors of the 31 private universities asking them to submit fee structures dating back to 2017.

The year coincides with the time the second cohort of government-sponsored students was placed in various private institutions through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS).

“We wish to request for the fee structure for government-sponsored students from the financial years 2017/2018 to 2022/2023,” said UFB chief executive Geoffrey Monari in a letter to the VCs dated July 28, 2022. To date, private universities have received over Sh12 billion in funding under the plan.

VCs are required to comply with the demand Monday next week, which the UFB says will help check fee adjustment trends in the institutions.

Government-sponsored students were first admitted to private universities in 2016 when the State initiated a pilot programme targeting 10,000 learners aimed at expanding access to university education in the country.

The programme started with an allocation of Sh2 billion. The first batch comprised 6,312 students, each receiving an average of Sh70,000 before the average allocation increased to Sh84,217 per student for the second cohort comprising 18,587 students.

The number of GSS to private universities has since been on an upward trajectory, increasing to 78,650 in the year to June. The approved budgetary allocation has, however, risen at a slower rate to Sh3.1 billion against a requirement of Sh12.2 billion, translating to an average allocation of Sh40,366 per student.

State funding to both public and private universities is based on the Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) model whereby institutions are allocated budgets based on the number of undergraduate students they register for the State-funded regular programme and the kinds of courses they take.

Under the model, the government is expected to cater for 80 percent of the unit cost while the balance is borne by students and institutions. A cash crunch has, however, seen allotments by the State fall way behind at about 20.6 percent for GSSs in private universities.

Mr Monari said an analysis of the fee structures in the private institutions will enable the UFB advise Education Cabinet secretary on the financing of universities from an informed position.

[email protected]