Under 18 university students not legible for HELB funding, says Magoha

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The government has ruled out issuance of Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) funds   to students who join university while they are under 18.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha yesterday said the national ID is a mandatory document in a HELB loan application.

To ensure the loan application is only accessed by Kenyan citizens, the CS said, all applicants’ national Identity Card numbers are validated against Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS).

This database (IPRS), links other systems to the third generation ID card.

“The law of contract constrains persons under the age of 18 from entering in a contractual agreement, including loan agreements. This poses a risk of non-recovery of loans disbursed to minors as disputes may arise on account of contravening provisions of Law of Contract Act,” Magoha (right) told the National Assembly Education committee.

During the meeting, MPs demanded an explanation from the CS on why the release of HELB funds had delayed for students joining universities and other institutions of higher learning for academic year 2021/2022.

Delayed funds

Magoha explained that HELB invited loan applications for first time applicants on July 19 but students could not immediately make applications because they were yet to be placed.

The placement results were released a month later on August 17.

He also said universities commenced admissions a week after placement, which implies that students did not get sufficient time to make loan application requests.

“Specifically, the University of Nairobi first year students were called to report on August 30, just a week after placement and receiving the admission letters,” said the CS. 

As of October 7, he said, HELB had received and processed a total of 13,091 loan application requests and awarded Sh588 million. 

Out of this, Sh247 million was released to 10,897 students to cater for upkeep for their first semester. 

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