Thursday, September 29, 2022
Home Education Ministry sets out conditions for approval of HELB loan

Ministry sets out conditions for approval of HELB loan

University students will have to wait for a few more days before they can be illegible for HELB loans as  minors.

The Ministry of Education has set out conditions that will guide approval of the Higher Education Loans Board Amendment Bill.

If this is adopted, students below 18 years could soon access Helb loans if  restriction is approved.

Nominated MP Gideon Koske had submitted a proposal seeking approval of loans for university students aged below 18.

The proposed law provides that a person granted an education loan by Helb shall be required to have his or her parents or guardians as co-signatories.

Speaking during the National Assembly Education Committee meeting, Bomachoge-Borabu MP Zadock Ogutu said once the borrowing law is amended then the Bill can pass.

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Ogutu said the lawmakers are in full support of the proposed amendment.

“What this means is that before we approve this proposal we need to lay the base for the amendment. It will then provide for expansion of space,” Ogutu said.

The ministry report clarified that since minors can not open bank accounts, the parents have no assurance the money will reach the minors.

“The report does not support the amendment until the co-borrower amendment is legislated.”

This now calls for further expansion of the meaning of a loanee by the board when disbursing loans.

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The legislator wanted the meaning to be expanded to include a parent and guardian to allow for co signing.

Kabondo Kasipul MP Eve Obara backed the proposal which she said will go a long way in helping needy varsity students.

Obara said this will enable parents to be aware of loans applied for, by their children.

“As MPs  there is so much pressure for bursary from students who have taken Helb,” Obara said.

“The parents have come to us, they have gone to the county looking for assistance.”

In 2015, following an attempt by then Kiharu MP Irungu Kang’ata, the President vetoed a bill with a similar proposal on grounds of sustainability challenges.

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The President refused to assent to the bill saying it would require massive finances from the National Treasury to maintain.

He also removed provisions for graduates who fail to secure employment a year after completing studies to be free from penalties once they informed the board.

In August, MPs rejected a bill that would have provided for lower interest on Helb loans to three per cent and a grace repayment period of five years.

The National Assembly Education Committee rejected the bill warning that the board stood to lose Sh693 million annually.


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