Panic Among Students as Loan Request Portal Fails
After the portals for loans and scholarships crashed, the situation just developed before the start of the academic year the next week.
MPs raised alarm yesterday about the status of student funding under the new university price model, with students in default on loans and bursaries anticipating closure when universities reopen next week.
No students will be sent home when they come in for admission, Education Secretary Ezekiel Machgu assured members of the National Assembly’s education committee.
Any student who has been placed is eligible to apply for financing. Between August 24 and September 25, the university will begin accepting students. He explained that from the day they open, “universities are required to give students one month to process loans and scholarships.”
30 percent success
During the delayed funding, the public university accumulated a large debt portfolio consisting of unpaid salaries, statutory deductions, bank and Sacco loans, and unpaid suppliers.
In total, public universities had debts of Sh61 billion as of June 23 and growing.
But Mahogu said an update on the funding situation would soon be given to all universities, adding that so far only 30 percent of university applicants have successfully applied for funding.
The CS said that as of August 23, applications are still coming in and 75,272 university and TVET students have successfully applied.
He said applications for funding will close on September 7, followed by seven days to approve applications. Scholarship disbursements will continue throughout the day and payments will be based on the opening date.
He also wants to make sure that the system is fixed so that students can get higher education at the same time.
According to the ministry, some issues related to the online portal include approval of the Integrated Population Registration Database System (IPRS) for applicants, parents and guarantors.
Candidates say that the system takes a lot of time to verify their credentials, sometimes running for hours, and they are unable to register on the portal to continue their application.
Due to this issue, the ID number takes a long time to be verified or is not verified at all and candidates are unableto register on the application portal.
Also, newly acquired ID cards are not available in the system, thus hampering the development of the program.
Machgu said IPRS will review its system during this operational period to accommodate the high traffic flowing through the portal.
“The newly purchased ID will be updated in the IPRS system from the National Registration Bureau (NRB). “The Ministry has written to the Cabinet Secretary, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Administration to address the issue,” he said.
There are also courses that are not announced by the institution in the Kenya Universities Central Placement Service (KUCCPS).
In this case, students have login credentials and courses that are not declared with the KUCCPS portal, so they cannot be found in the application portal when applying.
There are no unannounced courses on the portal, so students cannot fill the application form. Organizations must update all courses and fees with KUCCPS before August 28,” he said.
Machgu said the massive traffic on the application portal, which was generated by a large number of regular programs, was exacerbated this week because some institutions are about to start the 2023/2024 academic year.
He also said that students without ID should apply for scholarships and loans with their Kenya Secondary Education (KCSE) index number and birth certificate.
Once students are classified under the new model, scholarships will be awarded and sent to university or college, loans from the Higher Education Loan Agency (HELB) will be disbursed to finance them after submitting their credentials, he said.
“Universities and colleges have been advised of the plan and are expected to accept students. The granting of loans is a contract between HELB and students.
“The law does not allow contracts with minors, so loans will not be given to those who do not have KTP. There are about 1,000 students who fall into this category and as practice, these students will receive KTP in the first year of study.”
The CS said the total funding requirement for the new model is Sh39.4 billion this fiscal year and the government has collected additional funds of Sh12.5 billion and the expected fiscal gap of Sh18.6 billion in the first additional budget.