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Universities Grapple with Funding Categories Delay as Exam Fee Deadline Nears

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Universities Grapple with Funding Categories Delay as Exam Fee Deadline Nears

The ongoing predicament concerning university fees continues to engulf universities and colleges, which cannot collect tuition from parents due to the government’s failure to release students’ funding categories.

This means that universities cannot determine the fee amount for each parent two weeks before the commencement of end-of-semester examinations.

Recently, principals and vice chancellors of colleges and universities have hinted at the possibility of being compelled to request that parents pay examination fees before their children proceed to take the exams. A vice chancellor, speaking confidentially, disclosed that they are cautious not to appear as though they are opposing the government’s reform agenda.

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According to him, university administrators are speaking softly about tuition to avoid appearing to be undermining the new funding strategy.

However, they stated that the VCs committee has not yet discussed and approved a formal stance on fees.

As per the revised formula, all students enrolled in one of the five bands will receive a financial boost ranging from Sh40,000 to Sh60,000, contingent upon the financial stability of their households.

Speaking confidentially, a vice chancellor mentioned that they do not want to be perceived as going against the government’s reform agenda.

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In the absence of student categorizations, however, academic institutions cannot collect fees.

The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) began disbursing Sh8.2 billion to universities last week.

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Ninety-six thousand students enrolled in public universities and approximately 9,655 enrolled in private universities were expected to receive the tranche.

Cs in Education Last week, Ezekiel Machogu announced at Kisii University that the classification of students had been completed.

The government, according to the minister, will allocate Sh5.2 billion for the maintenance of students.

Additionally, as of the previous week, the government had awarded maintenance funds to the majority of students who submitted loan and scholarship applications.

HELB distributed the funds to the students, assigning each individual to one of the five bands.

Concerns have nonetheless arisen regarding the need for more disclosure of comprehensive category lists to universities and colleges, which would have permitted them to gather tuition from parents.

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Daniel Mugendi, chairman of the Vice Chancellors Committee, told the Saturday Standard that institutions will not be able to disclose the category of first-year students until after the loans and scholarships are disbursed.

According to him, university administrators are unaware of the potential alteration to the classification of students that President William Ruto declared in May.

On Tuesday, Professor Mugendi indicated that the disbursement to their accounts would reveal the amount students need to pay out of pocket, providing information on whether the categorization has changed.

He stated that the universities received instructions to temporarily delay obtaining funds for first-year student scholarships and loans.

Professor Mugendi, the vice chancellor of Embu University, made it clear that this week’s plans called for students to first receive their maintenance funds and then tuition payments to the schools.

Solomon Shibairo, vice chancellor of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, acknowledged that operational disruptions result from delays in the distribution of capitation funds for the 6,500 first-year students.

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On Wednesday, Prof. Shibairo reported that he had incorporated the students’ tuition fees into the budget, anticipating that it would contribute to closing the deficit. To sustain operations, the institution took the initiative to adjust its budget and formulate strategies to cut expenses.

The university achieves a reduction in staff through natural attrition; for example, when three staff members retire, the institution replaces only one.

Additionally, the Vice-Chancellor stated ongoing discussions with part-time lecturers, who receive partial payment, and has requested their patience until the capitation is received. As per the VC, the university has opted to delay some of its development programs to avert a financial crisis.

However, Shibairo stated that the university is financially stable and does not anticipate any financial instability.

University administrators have raised concerns with only four weeks until the semester’s conclusion. Due to the impending end-of-semester exams, academic institutions can grant students a grace period of two weeks to remit their direct fees in preparation for the examinations, which take place in a fortnight.

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The Vice-Chancellor stated that technology adoption is being utilized to reduce staff numbers, and the approach involves replacing only one out of three retiring staff members. Additionally, he expressed concern about potential student difficulties in meeting deadlines due to the limited replacement rate.

Prof. Kiama stated that individuals who are not granted student loans will be saddled with a more significant financial burden in the form of increased out-of-pocket expenses.

University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Stephen Kiama emphasized that various universities have implemented measures such as a zero-fee balance policy and the mandatory use of examination cards for entry into exam rooms.

Universities Grapple with Funding Categories Delay as Exam Fee Deadline Nears

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