Ensure no needy student left behind in funds plan


University graduands during a past graduation ceremony in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The plan to start issuing scholarships for higher learning based on the economic situation of the applicant is good but the State must ensure correct classification.

The Universities Fund (UF) is in August expected to conduct a needs assessment of all 2022 KCSE exam candidates who scored grade C+ and above after the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service completes its placement in mid-July.

UF alongside the Higher Education Loans Board will jointly categorise the applicants into four groups for apportioning of scholarships and loans.

The four needs levels are vulnerable, extremely needy, needy and less needy. The agencies will rely on several indicators, including parents’ background, gender, course type, marginalisation, disability, family size and composition to classify learners into different need levels.

While this sounds good on paper, the State must ensure that the process is above board to avoid coming up with a classification that will not reflect the realities of the financial capabilities of the learners.

Kenya has not performed well in capturing the economic well-being of its people and this formula will therefore be relying on a lot of fresh data.

Given that the classification has a bearing on how much learners will be required to fund from their pockets, any process which will not reflect the financial situation of the learners risks locking many out of the higher education dream.

The State should also specify how often this classification will be updated.

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