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Public universities block first years from of semester exam over delayed helb loan disbursement

First years in public universities will have to clear all tuition fee arrears before they can sit for their exams in the wake of delayed helb loan.

The demand by the universities comes after delayed disbursement of scholarship funds to the institutions by the government under the Higher Education Funding model that was unveiled this year.

Before receiving their examination cards and being able to take their examinations, students typically need to pay their tuition. 

On the instruction of Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, a number of first-year students were granted admission without having to pay the fees.

According to reports, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has already written to students, asking them to pay the fees due. 

“Kindly note that end-of-semester examinations commence on December 6, 2023 as per the circulated timetable. In view of this, you’re requested to pay the household amount of fees due as per your band category given by Higher Education Loans Board (Helb). It is noted that loan disbursement as well as scholarship allocations to students have commenced,” reads a letter to students signed by the deputy vice chancellor (Academic Affairs), Prof Robert Kinyua. 

The chair of the Vice Chancellors Committee of Public Universities, Prof Daniel Mugendi according to a report by the Daily Nation confrmed that students had been asked to pay their obligation. 

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He added that the institution was yet to to establish the correct position disbursement of the scholarship funds by the government.

“Categorisation of the students according to the various bands hadn’t been done by Helb. Each university has invoiced their students according to the cost of their programme. Everyone knew they were to pay something from the beginning but we’re cognisant of the short notice. Those who can’t pay will still be allowed to sit the exams,” said Prof Mugendi, who is also the vice chancellor of the University of Embu. 

He explained that universities have been using the capitation meant for the continuing students to cater for the first year students’ budgets. 

According to Helb CEO Charles Ringera, 109,393 students have been awarded loans. “Loan applications are still ongoing and awards are happening continuously,” Mr Ringera said. 

First-year students at Moi University have been allowed to sit the examinations but have not been issued with examination cards. 

This was communicated through a circular signed by the DVC (Academic, Research, Extension and Student Affairs), Prof I.N Kimengi.

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