By Ruto Abdi.
Public University students across the country are yet to start their academic year 2015/2016 from September with new intakes expected.
In order to foresee smooth life in campuses and avoid confrontation with the state, Student leaders are calling upon the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to expedite the disbursement of funds two weeks before the reporting dates.
Speaking to media in Kericho, the University of Kabianga’s Student Leader Alfred Chuchu said it is important for the state to be proactive in disbursing the funds to students to avoid ups and downs experienced when the same is delayed.
“We want to challenge the Higher Education Loans Board to release the student funds as early as two weeks before reporting of the students as had been the case before. We have a lot of problems facing us and we cannot risk having problems with money that is already there,” said Chuchu.
He further said more than a half of the student population in campuses depend more on HELB funds to pay their tuition fees and accommodation which university administrations want cleared before admission.
“We will appreciate if the money goes to the student accounts this early to avoid unnecessary commotions with HELB and have students register and complete the session in campus,” he added.
In 2013, a section of student leaders met HELB at Maanzoni Lodge in Nairobi and agreed on how HELB can partner with local Banks to offer cash to students in case HELB delays and the leaders say it is time for them to implement the agreement fully.
However, Student leaders faulted HELB over smart cards launched in March this year for lack of insufficient information about it and said they will oppose the use of it when introduced unless they were consulted.
“No financial institution gives loan and dictates how to spend it. This is wrong and we can never accept it since not all students squander HELB money in drinking sprees or use the money wrongly,” he cautioned.
Recently, University students went to the streets demanding HELB to release the money to their accounts with the most recent being the Maasai Mara University and if HELB will not heed to this, we may see another drama in September.