Kenya Allocates Sh. 5.2 Billion for University Loans to Aid First-Year Students

Kisii, Kenya – The Kenyan government has disbursed Sh. 5.2 billion to facilitate university loans for first-year students for the academic year 2023/2024.

According to Kenya News Agency, Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu announced the funds’ release during a meeting at Kisii University on Tuesday. Machogu detailed the Ministry’s efforts in finalizing the allocations, stating, “As I promised first years, we have been doing some analysis and it has taken time in order to determine which student should be given what amount, and the exercise was completed last week.”

The Cabinet Secretary highlighted that the disbursed funds would benefit students according to their financial needs, with a particular focus on aiding those from impoverished backgrounds through scholarships. He specified that these students would be required to commence loan repayment after securing employment.

Machogu addressed the Means Testing Instrument (MTI), a new mechanism used to assess the financial needs of students. The MTI is set to replace the Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) method, which previously had the government subsidize 80 percent of program costs for current second to fourth-year students. He emphasized that the MTI will be more effective, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, stating, “The previous system was not workable and we had to come up with a formula that will be able to serve Kenyans.”

The government has also initiated an affordable housing project to tackle the accommodation crisis in universities, starting with a 10,000-capacity hostel at Kisii University. Additionally, Machogu noted the release of capitation funds to public universities to clear longstanding bills and urged institutions to focus on essential functions and to consider downsizing non-teaching staff, recruiting only when necessary.

Furthermore, Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary Charles Hinga outlined the benefits of the Kisii University housing project, emphasizing the importance of dignified living conditions to allow students to concentrate on their studies. He revealed the government’s significant investment into the housing levy, amounting to Sh16.24 billion collected by October and growing monthly by Sh5.5 billion. Hinga also recognized the urgency of developing a comprehensive plan for land use in Kisii County to accommodate human settlement and agriculture.