Functions, benefits and requirements of HELB loan

The Higher Education Loan Board (HELB) is a SAGA under the Ministry of Education with a mandate to disburse student loans in higher learning institutions. It was established under the Higher Education Loans Board Act, of 1995. Since then it has helped over 1.3 million students get loans to facilitate their education in universities and TVET institutions.

The main role and responsibility of the HELB board is to mobilize funds to be disbursed to students in higher learning institutions to facilitate their learning.

Benefits of HELB Loan

The HELB loan is awarded to students in accredited public and private universities who apply for it. In recent years it has also included students in National Polytechnics, TTI, and TVCs.

On top of the loan, the board also offers bursaries to needy students which are not refundable.

The HELB loan helps the student to pay for tuition and personal upkeep when pursuing their degree or diploma. When the cash is disbursed it is divided into 2 parts where one goes direct to the learning institution while the other goes to the student bank account for personal use.

In combination with other sources of funding such as NG-CDF bursaries, church sponsorships, government scholarships, and institution bursaries among other needy students can pursue their career dreams.

Functions of the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB)

  1. To formulate sound policies for regulating the management of the Fund
  2. Solicit for funds and other assistance to promote the functions of the Board
  3. 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. 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 loan disbursement and recovery.
  7. 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. 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 cabinet secretary, 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 under the provisions of the Act.
  12. Borrow such monies from such sources and in such amounts as may be approved by the cabinet secretary with the concurrence of the Treasury and secure such loans in such manner as they deem fit.
  13. 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. Perform any other functions relating to the granting of students’ loans under the provisions of the Act.

Requirement to apply for a HELB loan

Since the funding is a loan that will be paid back after completing the studies the student should have a national ID to apply. They should also have an admission letter from the institution of higher learning to verify that they are attached to a certain institution.

Other requirements for applications include the following.

  1. A valid email address for the applicant (Student)
  2. Valid telephone number (must be registered in your name to apply for a loan)
  3. KCPE and KCSE index numbers and year of examination
  4. Passport size photo
  5. Copy of your National ID (for loan application)
  6. College/University admission letter
  7. Your parents’ registered telephone number
  8. Your parents’ national ID number
  9. Death certificate if any of your parent is deceased.
  10. Your birth certificate.
  11. Two guarantors’ (Can be your parents) ID numbers and registered telephone numbers (for loan application)
  12. Copy of the sponsorship letter if you were sponsored in Secondary school.

The board has digitized its operation and all applications are done online (HELB portal) without submitting a hard copy of the application.

The mobile number used to register will receive an SMS to verify and confirm when your application is received by the board. The SMS acts as evidence that your application will be processed.

To avoid your application being rejected please ensure you verify that all documents and information you upload on the portal are accurate.

New Higher Education Funding (HEF)

For equitable funding to universities, the government in the year 2023 introduced a new funding model that ensures student receives loans and scholarships as per their need.

The HEF also ensures that universities and colleges receive funding depending on the requirements of the courses that they offer. This removes the earlier funding model where all courses were allocated the same funding regardless of the material cost requirement.

While HELB deals with loans the HEF caters to scholarships to students which are free to all those students who apply for it and are awarded. The HEF is managed by the University Fund Kenya which was established by the University Act.