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The Government has released an additional Sh3.98 billion for scholarships under the new Higher Education Funding (HEF) model.

This marks the second tranche of financing for first-year students that had applied for State funding, with the Universities Fund set to distribute the funds directly to universities to cover tuition fees.

The first tranche of financing for scholarships under the new model amounting to Sh3.9 billion was released in October 2023. This brings the amount of funds disbursed for scholarships to Sh7.88 billion as of January 19, 2023.

The funds will cater to Government-sponsored first-year students in public universities, and the disbursement aims to alleviate the financial burden on deserving scholars.

The beneficiaries of these scholarships are those who successfully submitted their applications through the dedicated Higher Education Financing portal (www.hef.co.ke), launched on August 31, 2023.

“Beneficiaries of the First-Year loans and scholarships are those who successfully made their applications through the HEF portal (www.hef.co.ke) that we officially launched on August 31 2023,” said Education Cabinet Secretary, Ezekiel Machogu.

President William Ruto unveiled the new funding model in May 2023 to help address universities funding crisis. The model phases out the differentiated unit cost (DUC) model and will ease the financial burden on universities whose pending bills have ballooned to more than KSh70 billion.

The model’s first beneficiaries were candidates who sat the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination joined universities and colleges in September 2023.

With the model, funding to students now combines scholarships, loans and household contributions based on level of need. Under the model, the UF will disburse funds directly to individual universities for the successful candidates to cover their tuition fees. The new funding model delinked student placement with funding compelling them to submit applications to the HELB) and the UF for loans and scholarships, respectively.

Candidates who sat the KCSE in 2023 will form the second cohort of students to be subjected to the new funding model.

During the 2023 KCSE examination, a total of 899,453 candidates sat the examination compared with 881,416 candidates in 2022, representing an increase of 18,037candidates (2.05%). The number of candidates who attained the minimum university entry qualification of grade C+ and above was 201,133 (22.27%) in 2023 compared to 173,345 (19.62%) registered the year before.

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