higher education financing

What you need to know about the new higher education financing model in Kenya

Every Kenyan student, rich or poor, who receives a letter of admission from universities and TVET colleges as per the placement from Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) is eligible for funding offered by the government. These loans and scholarships have helped millions of students achieve their dreams and alleviate their families from poverty.

Many take them because they don’t have the means to pay for their education. If they didn’t have access to the loans, they wouldn’t be able to advance their education. However, different students have different levels of need. Some require more financial assistance than others.  The Kenyan government has introduced a new system to grant loans and scholarships to Kenyan students based on their needs.

Through Education CS Ezekiel Machogu, the Kenyan government announced changes in the higher learning financing system.  The new system classified students seeking funding into four categories; the vulnerable, extremely needy, needy and less needy. It seeks to offer students from extremely needy households equal opportunities as the rest of their counterparts. The new system applies to students who are joining universities and other higher learning institutions for the 2023-24 financial year. All continuing students under the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) will not be affected by the new funding model.

Funding Method

The new funding model will be based on four main categories; choice of the programme, household income band, affirmative performance and government priority areas. To determine the level of need of a student, a Means Testing Instrument (MTI) is applied. This instrument has eight variables, which include the parents’ background, gender, course type, marginalization, disability, family size and composition. By using these variables, the State can accurately determine the needs of the various households and fund them appropriately.

Based on MTI, students from rich backgrounds will get more loans than scholarships while those from poor backgrounds will get more scholarships than loans in a bid to ensure fairness. Further, funding will be allocated as follows:

  • Students falling under the vulnerable and extremely needy households will qualify for 100 per cent government funding. Funding for their studies will be through scholarships and loans.
  • Needy and less needy households will get 93 per cent of government funding, with the students bearing 7 per cent of the tuition costs.
  • Needy students joining universities will receive government scholarships of up to a maximum of 53 per cent and loans of up to 40 per cent. Their households will only pay for seven per cent of the cost of their university education.
  • Those joining TVETs will receive government scholarships up to 50 per cent and 30 per cent in loans while their households will pay 20 per cent of the costs.

This means that if a student’s annual school fees for his/her course is Ksh 306,000, this is how much the student will pay depending on their category:

  • Vulnerable: The government will pay Ksh 250,920 (82%) through scholarship and the remaining Ksh 55,080 will be cleared through a loan (18%). Households in this category will not pay anything.
  • Extremely Needy: The government will pay Ksh 214,200 (70%) through scholarship and the remaining Ksh 91,800 (30%) will be paid through loan. Households in this category will not pay anything.
  • Needy: The government will pay Ksh 162,180 (53%). The remaining Ksh 143,820 will be covered by a loan (40%) and the household will only pay for 7% of the amount.
  • Less Needy: The government will pay Ksh 116,680 (38%). The remaining will be covered by a loan of Ksh 189,720 (55%) and the household will pay 7% of the amount.


To implement this model, the Kenya Kwanza government has increased the funding for universities from Ksh 54 billion to Ksh 84.6 billion. This means that it has increased the allocation per student from Sh152,000 to Sh208,000. The budgetary allocation for TVETs has increased from Sh5.2 billion to Sh10 billion. This means that the allocation for each trainee is Sh67,000 per year.

How To Apply

Students who require funding must make a formal application through the Higher Education Financing portal, accessible at www.hef.co.ke. The platform has consolidated various education services for students in higher learning institutions.

Once on the platform, you will need to create an account or log in to access the dashboard and the student registration tabs. Users will then be required to fill in their details including education qualifications, bio details such as ID number and secondary school index number, and addresses under the Student Registration tab.

After signing up, select either Scholarships, Loans, or Bursaries depending on your needs and qualifications. Fill out the application form for the funding product you are interested in by providing all the required details and documents. Verify the information provided then submit your application. Note that you will not be able to edit the information on the application so make sure everything is accurate.

You will be required to upload some documents including statements that verify your financial status. Other documents you need include:

  • Copy of your ID
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Passport photo
  • Your parent or guardian’s phone number and copy of ID.
  • ID of two of your HEF loan guarantors

The platform is for applications by new students who are joining the university or college in September 2023. The portal will be open for application starting July 31, 2023 until August 27, 2023.