The debate over the HELB loan advanced to finance learning in universities and colleges has remained a point of concern from different quarters.
The debate goes as far as having beneficiaries of the loan who are yet to settle their debt with the Board being listed by the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) despite their awful situations.
The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) on Wednesday however announced that if you are among university graduates who are yet to pay their Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) loan, perhaps because you have not secured a job or you delayed in school, you have an opportunity to have your time repayment period reviewed.
With a highly significant number of graduates still jobless, HELB CEO Charles Ringera said, that is no excuse to default.
“There is nowhere actually in that loan application form we have said, you must get a job before paying, what we say is that finish school, we give one year, and settle down…settling can mean going into business, getting married to a rich family our any other way….”said Ringera.
But the HELB boss was keen to note that the solution to all this, is information.
“When you realize that you delaying in college, please give us that information. Write to us, visit us and tell us I’m actually in for another year, adjust my graduation dates….we are human beings and we know that such can be tolerated,’ said Ringera.
Ringera further indicated that the board assumes that a degree course in any public university takes an average of four years before one graduates.
The situation is however different because in nearly all the public universities in the country, students may take more than four years before graduating depending on the courses they take and barring any other interruptions.
The Kenya Young Parliamentary Association has since condemned the planned arrest of defaulters asking the government not to penalize them as most of them were yet to secure employment.
“… Enlisting them in CRB to stop them from accessing other loans is sad while they need loans so that they do business and even be able to pay up their HELB loans… if diplomacy fails, then we hit the streets. As members of parliament, we may need to visit HELB offices,” said Babu Owino- MP, Embakasi East.
“If you are jobless you cannot pay let the government get the young people jobs, they have been promising but have done nothing. The government cannot force us to pay loans yet they have not given us jobs,” said Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi.
HELB, which has disbursed loans to more than 700,000 students since its inception in 1995, is owed over Ksh.7 billion by the beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, the young parliamentarians are expected to present a petition in court on Thursday February 28,2019 to oppose the proposal by Vice Chancellors to increase university fees.