The Cabinet on Tuesday waived a requirement of a national Identity card for underage student loan applicants, as it moved to make them eligible for allocations from the Higher Education Loans Board.
The decision will ensure that some 1,000 new students do not miss out on the loans, and secure their prospects of university admissions.
The Ministry of Education had last week said that the underage students joining universities next month would be locked out of Helb loans because they had not attained 18 years— age for contractual agreements under the law.
This is after MPs put the Education Ministry to task over the fate of the 1,000 students amid growing concerns from parents.
“Cabinet waived the requirement for national identity cards for students who have not attained the age of 18, and further directed the Ministry of Education, jointly with all stakeholders, to fast-track access to scholarships for all eligible students,” read the Cabinet dispatch.
Parents, through their national lobby, the National Parents Association, have been pushing for the State to allow underage students to apply for Helb loans using birth notifications and the IDs of the parents.
Under the law, Helb only issues loans to students aged at least 18 years, a requirement that had dampened the mood for the 1,000 students and posed an increased burden on their families to fund them.
Students joining universities will from next month get Helb loans of between 18 percent and 55 percent of the tuition costs, with State scholarships topping the remaining amount.
Those joining Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVETs) will get Helb loans of between 20 percent and 48 percent of the tuition costs, with the rest being raised from State scholarships based on their need level.
Upkeep loans for the freshmen joining universities ranges from Sh45, 000 to Sh60, 000 based on their level of need and Sh13, 000 for those joining TVET colleges.
The new funding formula has four categories which are vulnerable, extremely needy, needy and less needy.
The formula, which replaced the Differentiated Unit Cost, will use eight indicators; parents’ background, gender, course type, marginalisation, disability as well as family size and composition to determine the need levels of the students.
Grouping of the students based on the need levels is set to start when the learners complete revising their courses this month.
The categorization will help families know how much they will shoulder financially for the university education of their children in the new funding formula.