What is the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB)?

Written by Ruth Njiri

What is HELB?

The Higher Education Loans Board was formed pursuant to the Higher Education Loans Board Act. The Board’s main mandate is to assist students in pursuit of higher education in recognized institutions. The Boards main products are:

  1. Loans
    1. Loans for Direct Entry Students: These loans are for students joining public or private universities within the East African Community (EAC) through the Joint Admissions Board (JAB). Amounts awarded range between 35,000KES and 60,000 KES. This loan attracts 4% interest per annum. The payment is required to be made upon completion of their studies.
    2. Alternative Loans (For Salaried Students): they comprise of postgraduate (Masters and PhD) and undergraduate loans. It runs as a commercial window targeting students who are able to repay their loans while studying. It attracts an interest rate of 12% per annum and is repayable within 48 months.
  2. Bursaries
    1. Undergraduate Bursaries: HELB awards this to extremely needy students who benefit from loans for direct entry. This applies to orphans, single parent families, and others from poor economic backgrounds.
    2. TVET Loans and Bursaries: HELB awards loans and bursaries to students pursuing certificate and diploma courses in public universities, colleges, public national polytechnics and Institutes of Technology & Technical Training Institutes in Kenya.
  3. Scholarships
    1. Postgraduate Scholarships: HELB awards scholarships based on academic merit.
    2. Visa Oshwal Scholarships: Oshwal aid in association with HELB offers scholarships to 20 direct entry university students for the entire tenure of their study.
  4. Training Revolving Funds (TRF)

This was introduced by the Government of Kenya to assist public servants access funds at subsidized interest rates for training in order to enhance their knowledge and skills. It awards loans from 30,000 KES to 500,000KES.

  1. Afya Elimu Fund Loans

The board has partnered with Intra Health Kenya to enhance the access of health workers to higher education. The loans are targeted t those already within the health sector as well as those directly enrolled into approved institutions mandated for the training of health workers. The loans attracts interest of 4% per annum and is payable within 72 months.

Who qualifies for HELB?

The minimum entry requirement states that one has to be a Kenyan citizen over the age of 18 years. The applicant also has to have been admitted to a recognized institution of higher education to a full time course for at least one year’s duration within the East African Community.

Basic Requirements and Application process

The applicants are required to have the following:

  • Copy of your national Identity Card
  • A valid bank account where the money shall be deposited
  • KRA PIN Number
  • Parent (s)/ guardian particulars
  • If parents are retired proof of retirement
  • If you are an orphan, provide parent(s) death certificate
  • Copy of letter of admission to the university/college
  • Copies of two guarantors’ Identity Cards
  • Three recent coloured passport size photographs

Further reading: The Higher Education Loans Board: Financing Higher Education

About the author

Ruth Njiri