Economy

ID requirement for Helb loans scraped in new Bill

helb

Students at Helb offices in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Students joining tertiary institutions before attaining 18 years will get State loans under proposed changes to the law that seeks to scrap the age hurdle that locks out learners from the funds.

The Higher Education Loans (Amendment) 2021 proposes that students without National Identity cards will list their parents and guardians as co-signatories to apply for the loans.

Currently, applicants seeking Helb loans must have 18 years to be eligible, a requirement that has locked out those below the legal age and exposed them to funding hurdles that in turn disrupt their studies.

Helb loan applicants are required to provide their national ID numbers as well as that of their parents on the Helb portal.

“This will ensure that university students who have not attained the age of eighteen years and who do not yet have nation identification cards, are allowed access to the higher education loans,” the memorandum of the Bill says.

Government-sponsored students are funded by Sh70,000 capitation that is paid directly to universities and they are expected to meet the other costs using the loan they get from Helb.

Helb normally gives loans to students admitted to both public and private universities as well as those in technical and vocational institutions.

Hitches linked to issuance of National Identity cards have in the past left students, parents and guardians exposed, forcing them to seek alternative funding.

In September, thousands of students joining universities and colleges in September missed out on the Helb money due to lack of identity cards.

The hitch forced many parents and guardians to pay fees for the students out of pocket or seek other sources of funding such as bank loans.

A total of 128,073 students were placed in universities while 193,994 applied for vocational and technical studies but most of them are yet to apply for Helb for lack of IDs.

The government gives capitation based on the number of students and the cost of courses at the universities.

Under the model, the government should ideally cater for 80 percent of the unit cost while the remaining 20 percent is borne by the students and the institutions.

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