A delegation from Malawi’s agency mandated to finance higher education toured Kenya for a bench marking mission on the back of a new funding model for universities and TVETs.
The Universities Fund (UF) in partnership with the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) hosted Higher Education Students & Loans and Grants Board (HESLGB) team on August 24, 2023.
Discussions during the interactive session were centered on best practices in the continent for innovative and sustainable ways of financing public universities.
UF Assistant Director for Grants Sillas Owiti elaborated on the newly unveiled funding framework for tertiary education in Kenya while comparing it with the previous model.
Under the new model which is applicable to the current cohort of students joining universities and TVETs, institutions of higher learning are no longer receiving block funding as was the case in the grants based on differentiated unit cost (DUC).
The government switched to the funding regime in efforts to address inequitable capitation witnessed under the DUC model that had plugged universities into financial distress owing to ballooning pending bills.
State funding for students under the new funding model is choice of the programme, household income band, affirmative performance and government priority areas.
The delegation from Malawi was also taken through challenges emerging from implementation of the two funding models, the solutions offered by the new funding model, and alternative sources of funding for universities in Kenya.
The Parliament of Malawi put in place HESLGB in 2015 to finance access to higher education of needy and deserving students in the country.
Just like its Kenyan counterparts, the HESLGB is mandated to disburse loans yearly to needy and deserving students pursuing higher education in government registered higher learning institutions both public and private and are pursuing accredited programs and courses.
The Board is also mandated to recover the loans from former beneficiaries of the higher education loans scheme dating way back from 1985/86 The New Higher Education Funding Model was unveiled by President Willam Ruto on May 3, 2023 to address challenges faced by public universities and Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) institutions as a result of massive enrolment and inadequate funding.
The new funding framework replaced the Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) that was used to finance universities. The model has delinked placement from funding and puts emphasis on a student’s financial need.
With the new funding model, universities and TVET institutions will no longer receive block funding in the form of capitation. Loan allocation will be student-centred and will be apportioned based on assessed level of need as determined by the Means Testing Instrument (MTI). Funding to students will be through scholarships, loans and household contributions.
To receive funding, students will be required to formally apply for loans and scholarships online. Students from vulnerable and extremely needy backgrounds will fully sponsored to colleges and universities.
The New Higher Education Funding Model is being implemented jointly by Universities Fund (UF), Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), Kenya Universities, Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) and State Department for Technical and Vocational Education and Training. On its part, UF will award scholarships to students, HELB will provide loans to students while KUCCPS will be in charge of placing KCSE graduates to higher learning institutions. Other players are higher learning institutions, the recipients of loans and scholarships awarded to students inform of fees, while parents will provide household contributions towards educating their children.