Kenya’s New Higher Education Funding Model to Increase University Enrollment

By | May 22, 2023

Kenya is implementing a new funding model for higher education that seeks to address the low number of students enrolling in university studies.

Currently, only 19 per cent of students who sat for the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam achieved the university entry grade of C+ and above out of a total of 869,782 students.

This article explores the implications of this low figure, calls for a national conversation, and highlights the need for Kenya to produce more skilled professionals for both the local and global markets.

Low University Entry Rates

Out of the nearly 870,000 students who took the KCSE exam in 2022, only 19 per cent, equivalent to 173,027 students, obtained the required grades for university admission.

Geoffrey Monari, the CEO of the Universities Fund (UF), expresses concern about this low percentage and suggests that the majority of students are being denied the opportunity to pursue higher education.

Monari compares Kenya’s figures to those of other developed countries and points out that South Africa sends 40 to 50 per cent of its students to universities, highlighting the need for a national conversation on this matter.

Expanding Opportunities

Geoffrey Monari emphasizes the importance of enabling more students to access university education, not only for the benefit of individuals but also to contribute to the country’s knowledge and human capital.

He argues that Kenyan universities produce professionals who can make a global impact and mentions the relatively low number of Kenyans working in international agencies compared to Western Africa.

Increasing the number of university graduates can help Kenya tap into its potential and share its expertise with the world.

Reviewing Placement Mandate

Dr Mercy Wahome, the CEO of the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS), highlights the need to review the acts governing the placement board’s mandate.

Currently, the placement service can only allocate positions to Kenyan students, excluding non-Kenyans who have also taken the KCSE exam.

Dr Wahome calls upon parliament to support the revision of the mandate, enabling the placement of both local and international students.

New Funding Model

Under the New Higher Education Funding Model funds will be directly channelled to students rather than institutions.

This change aims to create more competitive programs within universities.

The government has developed categories for student funding, which take into account the student’s financial needs.

Vulnerable students will receive full scholarships and loans, while the less needy will pay more.

The allocation of scholarships and loans for students in different categories will be determined based on their backgrounds using the Means Testing Instrument (MTI) employed by the Helb Lending agency.