Application window for Kenyan university, TVET student scholarships extended


Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu before the National Assembly Education Committee at Parliament buildings on August 24, 2023, on the new Education Funding Model. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

The application window for government scholarships by freshmen at universities and technical colleges has been extended by a month to October 7 after a lower-than-expected number of students showed interest.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu extended the window after it attracted just 60 percent or 156,532 students out of the 265,000 who were eligible for the scholarships.

“The application period for loans and scholarships that was initially scheduled to lapse on September 7, 2023, has now been extended to October 7, 2023,” Mr Machogu said on Wednesday.

There have been concerns that many needy students are at risk of being locked out by the universities due to delayed scholarship disbursements despite the government having recently directed the institutions against denying freshmen admission for lack of fees.

Resource mobilisation agency Universities Fund (UF) and the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) will use the information provided by the applicants to determine the scholarship amounts each will receive under the new funding model.

UF CEO had earlier said that the State will start profiling the students upon completion of the applications, which had earlier been set for Thursday to ensure timely classification of the freshmen and women, ensuring they get timely funding.

But the ministry has now directed the UF and the Helb to start processing the applications already received to avoid further delays in disbursement of the scholarships.

The UF and Helb will jointly classify the applicants into four groups; vulnerable, extremely needy, needy and less needy upon which the scholarships will be apportioned per student.

The two agencies will use a means testing instrument to scientifically determine the need levels of students where those from rich backgrounds will get more loans than scholarships while the less able will get more scholarships than loans.

Needy students joining universities will receive State scholarships of up to 53 percent and loans capped at 40 percent and their families will only pay for seven percent of the cost of their university education.

The new formula will see needy students get more support than those from well-off families, using eight indicators; parents’ background, gender, course type, marginalisation, disability as well as family size and composition.

The new model replaced the differentiated unit cost model, where the rich and the poor students receive the same amount.

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