The Higher Education Loans Board, or Helb for short, has swooped in to help an additional 63,000 students enrolled in public universities and technical colleges. They’ve managed to pull off this feat by making some clever adjustments to their budget.

So, here’s the deal: Helb realized they needed to find a way to cover the financing gaps for these students this year. Initially, they were facing the daunting task of funding around 140,000 students. But then, there was a bit of a hiccup. They didn’t receive Sh5.7 billion from the Treasury on time, which forced them to come up with a new plan.

Enter Charles Ringera the CEO of Helb with a stroke of genius. They decided to carry out two rounds of budget rationalization between March and June. By doing this, they managed to trim down the number of students to about 77,000. That’s still a significant amount, right? And they needed approximately Sh3.3 billion to cover their financial needs. It wasn’t easy, though. Helb had to make some sacrifices, like cutting back on staff training, to allocate the necessary funds for these students’ studies.

Now, here’s the unfortunate part: because of the delayed disbursement, many of these students especially the first-years found themselves scrambling to find alternative ways to pay for their tuition, accommodation, and daily expenses. Talk about a stressful time! It’s not easy balancing newfound independence with financial challenges, let me tell you.

Helb tried their best to seek additional funding through a supplementary budget to bridge the financing deficit but unfortunately their request was declined. However, here’s the good news: they were still allocated a whopping Sh15.8 billion for student funding in the current financial year. That’s no small amount, my friend!

Now, let’s talk about the loan amounts. If a student successfully applies for a loan they can receive anywhere between Sh35,000 and Sh60,000 per year. Out of that total, Sh8,000 goes straight to the university as tuition fees. The remaining balance is split into two equal installments and sent to the student’s bank account, covering their expenses for two semesters.

Here’s the cool thing about Helb: it operates on the principle of a revolving fund. Once beneficiaries complete their studies, they’re expected to pay back the loan. This way, the funds can support a fresh batch of students. It’s a beautiful cycle of support and opportunity, don’t you think?

The State has recently given the funding framework for universities and technical colleges a complete overhaul. It’s all about putting students at the center which is just awesome! Starting from July, institutions will receive a whopping 80 percent of their funding through scholarships. The remaining 20 percent will come in the form of loans. Government-sponsored students will be eligible for loans based on their level of need, ranging from vulnerable to less needy. It’s a more tailored approach that ensures support goes where it’s most needed.

Helb has faced its fair share of challenges in recent years. With the growing demand for loans and limited resources it’s been a bit of a juggling act. But you know what? They’re doing their best to adapt and meet the needs of as many students as possible. Kudos to them for their dedication and commitment to education!