The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) on Thursday, July 16, announced that it had waived the Ksh1,000 certificate acquisition fee demanded from non-loanees.
According to a letter signed by Charles Ringera, the loans body resorted to the move after a series of stakeholder engagements where respondents termed the fee as punitive.
“HELB has been issuing compliance certificates to non-beneficiaries of student loans at a fee of Kshs. 1,000 to defray the cost of the certificate and other administrative expenses.
“However, during various stakeholder engagements where HELB seeks feedback on Citizen Service Delivery, it has repeatedly come to our attention that the charges for non-loanee compliance certificate are perceived to be punitive, especially to the many unemployed youth who did not benefit from the student loans,” read the notice in part.
Some of the stakeholders raised issues such as unemployment and under-employment challenges, low economic growth and escalated cost of living as well as retrenchment and downsizing affecting all sectors which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“Given the foregoing issues raised by Kenyans, HELB has stopped charging Kshs. 1,000 for issuance of the Compliance Certificate with effect from July 15, 2020.
“The HELB Compliance Certificates will now be free of charge and can be accessed from the HELB Website as well as the E-Citizen Portal,” continued the statement.
The statement also indicated that the waiver was expected to motivate Kenyan youth to seek their HELB compliance certificates as they seek jobs or opportunities to contribute towards building the nation.
It was also aimed at creating goodwill and promoting HELB products among Kenyans as they seek compliance certificates.
Since its establishment in 1995, HELB has been charging all individuals who never benefited from its funding a fee of Ksh1,000 in order to obtain the clearance certificate.
HELB is a body mandated to provide loans, bursaries and scholarships to Kenyans pursuing higher education in recognized Kenyan Universities and Colleges and to recover the same after completion of studies to facilitate establishment of a revolving fund.
The body has in the past engaged in a tussle with its beneficiaries after accusing them of failure to repay back the loans in time. In 2019, the institution had threatened to publish faces of defaulters in daily newspapers, a move that had been welcomed by a majority of the defaulters.