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The Higher Education Loans Board Act


The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) Is A State Corporation Under The Ministry Of Higher Education Science And Technology. HELB Was Established By An Act Of Parliament – The Higher Education Loans Board Act, Cap 213A Of 1995.

The Mandate Of HELB Is To Disburse Loans, Bursaries And Scholarship To Students Pursuing Higher Education In Recognized Institutions. HELB Provides Affordable Loans, Bursaries, And Scholarships To Kenyans Pursuing Higher Education.

Key Responsibilities Of The Board Include Sourcing Funds, Establishing, Managing And Awarding Bursaries And Scholarships To Kenyans Pursuing Higher Education In Recognized Institutions.

HELB Is A Body Corporate Capable Of Suing And Being Sued, Owning Property, Entering Into Contracts, Borrowing And Lending Money, And Such Other Acts Necessary To Carry Out Its Mandate.

Section 4 of the HELB Act provides that the Board shall consist of—

  1. a Chairman appointed by the President;
  2. the Secretary to the Commission for Higher Education;
  3. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education or his representative;
  4. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance or his representative;
  5. the Chairman of the Vice-Chancellors Committee for Public Universities;
  6. a representative of the Vice-Chancellors or Principals of the Private Universities;
  7. the Executive Director of the Federation of Kenya Employers;
  8. the Chairman of the Kenya Bankers Association;
  9. two other persons appointed by the Minister; and
  10. such other persons, not more than three, as the Board may co-opt from time to time.

Under Section 6 of the HELB Act the functions of the Board are —

  1. to formulate sound policies for regulating the management of the Fund;
  2. to solicit for funds and other assistance to promote the functions of the Board;
  3. to set the criteria and conditions governing the granting of loans including the rate of interest and recovery of loans;
  4. to receive any gifts, donations, grants or endowments made to the Board, and to make legitimate disbursements therefrom;
  5. to establish and maintain links with other persons, bodies or organizations within or outside Kenya, as the Board may consider appropriate for the furtherance of the purposes for which the Board is established;
  6. to enter into contracts with financial institutions for the purpose of loans disbursement and recovery;
  7. to grant loans out of the Fund either with or without security, as the Board may deem fit, to any eligible person to enable him, or assist any student, to meet the cost of higher education;
  8. to determine the maximum number of eligible persons or students to be granted loans in any one particular year;
  9. to invest any surplus funds not currently required for the purpose of the Board in any investment authorized by law for the investment of trust funds with power from time to time to vary or realize those investments;
  10. with the consent of the Minister, to set up and expend such other funds as may from time to time be required;
  11. to receive and consider all loan applications from eligible persons or students wishing to be considered for the award of higher education loans, and to approve, withhold or reject such requests in accordance with the provisions of this Act;
  12. to borrow such monies from such sources and in such amounts as may be approved by the Minister with the concurrence of the Treasury and to secure such loans in such manner as they deem fit;
  13. to take out insurance cover for risky loans such as death, incapacity or inability to pay, as the Board deems fit;
  14. to establish and award bursaries and scholarships which it may consider necessary for the promotion of the objectives and functions of the Board;
  15. to perform any other functions relating to the granting of students’ loans in accordance with the provisions of this Act; and
  16. to perform and exercise all other functions and powers conferred on the Board by this Act

The Higher Education Loans Fund is established under Section 11 of the Act for purposes of being managed and administered by the HELB in its mandate.

The object and the purpose of the Fund is to provide funds to be used for granting loans to assist Kenyan students to pursue higher education at such institutions within and outside Kenya, recognized by the Commission for Higher Education.

The Fund receives monies under Section 12 of the Act from -

  1. sums of money which may from time to time be voted by Parliament for that purpose;
  2. sums which represent the repayment of the capital and interest of any loan granted by the Board or any other loan made prior to the enactment of this Act by the Ministry of Education;
  3. income from any investment made by the Board;
  4. any sums of money borrowed by the Board with the consent of the Minister;
  5. any gifts, donations, grants and endowments made to the Fund.

Any citizen of Kenya who has attained minimum entry requirements and has been admitted to a recognized institution of higher education to a full time course of at least one year’s duration can apply for a HELB Loan. (“Eligible Person” under Section 2 of the Act). This includes TVET students, health students enrolled in either KMTC or Faith based institution, Undergraduate Students, Postgraduate Students (Masters and Doctoral Studies). Doctoral and Masters students are awarded on average Kshs. 200,000 per year. The loans are available to students in both public and private chartered universities. The loans attract interest. Terms and conditions apply. There are also other loan products available such as the Afya Elimu Fund Loan, the Alternative Loan, Civil Servants Training Revolving Fund Loan and the KRA Training Revolving Fund Loan. There are in addition bursaries and scholarships. Visit www.helb.co.ke for more information.

Section 13 of the Act provides that every student wishing to be considered for the grant of a higher education loan shall make an application to the Board in the prescribed form. HELB places advertisements in the print media in which it invites applications for loans. Application forms are downloaded from our website. A processing fee of Kshs 2,000 is payable by each applicant. The Board maintains a deadline and those applications received after the deadline without justifiable reasons are not processed.

Every student who has been awarded a higher education loan is then issued with a Loanee Identification Personal Account Number (L.I.P.A.) by the Board.

HELB releases loan results before the new academic year starts. Thereafter, students who fail to secure a loan or are awarded inadequate amounts are encouraged to appeal. Each appeal is reviewed on its own merit. If one fails to get a loan, the following could be possible reasons:

  • The student may not have provided adequate information about him/herself as requested.
  • The student may have provided false information on the loan application form.

It is an offence to provide false information during the application process or to obtain a loan based on false information

The conditions for grant of a HELB loan are outlined in section 14. The Board may -

  1. accept or reject any application for a loan;
  2. grant a loan to any student and in so granting impose conditions, demand security and require repayment in installments at such times and within such periods as the Board deems fit:

Provided that and subject to the provisions of this section the Board may upon the request by any student to whom a loan has been granted at any time vary -

  1. By depositing cash or cheque into the HELB collection accounts
  2. By direct debit
  3. By credit card
  4. By a standing order through your credit card
  5. Via Mpesa paybill number 200800
  6. For those abroad: Credit card or Direct Transfer to HELB account number 300 040 012, Citibank Nairobi. Swift code CITIKENA

A loanee is any person who has been granted and education loan. The obligations of loanees are outlined in section 15. A loanee shall be required within one year of completion of his studies or within such a period as the board decides to recall its loan whichever is the earlier;

  1. To inform the Board of his contacts
  2. To begin repayment of the loan together with any interest accrues thereon
  3. If he is in formal employment, to authorize his employer to deduct the loan repayment and to remit it to the Board in such manner as the Board may direct

Any loanee who fails or neglects to satisfy the requirements of subsection within the stipulated time shall, in addition to any other action that the Board may take against him, be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not less than five thousand shillings in respect of each loan deduction that remains unpaid, and such fine shall be payable to the Board.

Where a loanee is employed, the loanee’s employer has certain obligations to fulfill. They are outlined in section 16. Every employer shall be required, subject to and in accordance with this Act or any regulations made thereunder—

  1. upon the employment of any loanee to inform the Board in writing within a period of three months of such employment;
  2. upon confirmation by the Board that such a person so employed is a loanee, to deduct from the wages or remuneration of the loanee, the amount of any loan as instructed by the Board.
  3. the employer shall pay every deduction from the loanee’s wages or remuneration in the prescribed manner to the Board within 15 days after the end of each month. The deductions should however not be more than one quarter of the loanee’s basic salary (up to 25% of the basic Salary). (section 19).

The Board can exempt a loanee from repaying his loan in the following situations outlined in Section 21:

  1. death
  2. considerations of hardship or equity
  3. impossibility or undue difficulty, or the expenses to be incurred in the recovery of the loan being far in excess of the amount sought to be recovered.

In order to better the carrying out of activities by the Board the minister may make certain regulations as outlined in section 37 in respect of the following;

  1. The receipt, processing and approval of applications for loans and the granting of loans to students;
  2. The preparation and maintenance of loanees’ records;
  3. The withdrawal, recovery and cancellation of loans already granted;
  4. The waiver or exemption from repayment of loans;
  5. Persons who being loanees are or have been living outside Kenya;
  6. The terms and conditions of service for the Board’s staff;
  7. The setting-up of procedures for dealing with loan defaulters; and
  8. The grant of bursaries and scholarships.

Anniversary Towers, 18th Floor,
University Way, P.O. Box 69489 00400
Tel: 254 0711 052 000 Fax: 252330
Nairobi, Kenya.
Helb Website

The basic HELB Services can also be accessed through the following Huduma Centres:

1. Bungoma

2. Eldoret

3. Embu

4. Kakamega

5. Kisii

6. Kisumu

7. Kitui

8. Machakos

9. Meru

10. Mombasa

11. Nakuru

12. Nairobi-GPO

13. Nyeri

14. Lodwar

The Services include:

• Receiving Loan application forms on behalf of the Board

• Loan application and disbursement status

• Loan Repayment status and statement

• Compliance certificate issuance.

• General queries regarding HELB products and services

Section 16A provides that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) shall, at the request of the Board, furnish it with the name and address of a borrower or the employer of a borrower, if such information is known to the Authority.

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