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Unemployed HELB loanees to be reprieved of penalties

10 June 2015, 16:40 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Students who benefit from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) study loan may be exempted from penalties until they secure jobs.

Kiharu MP, Irungu Kangata who sponsored the Bill seeking to have the HELB Act amended, proposes that beneficiaries be given a year after their graduation to secure jobs before interest and other penalties are levied on the loan.

“Where within one year of completion of his studies a loanee has not secured a source of income, the loanee shall notify the Board in writing and the Board shall not levy penalties on the loan,” states the Bill.

MPs backed Kangata’s proposals arguing that many beneficiaries have incurred huge penalties on their loans yet most of them were still looking for employment.

The bill also proposes student representation in the HELB board where students leaders from both public and private universities elect one representative to the board on rotational basis.

Kangata argues that the current board lacks students representation as required by the Constitution, adding that inclusion of their representatives will ensure that students issues are adequately heard and addressed.  

Read Also: County to partner with HELB to offer study loans

Moreover, the bill suggests that students who are yet to attain 18 years and seek to apply for HELB fund be allowed to access the grant through their parents or guardian thereafter the loan be transferred to the student’s name upon attaining legal age.

“The Board shall notify every applicant in writing whether the application for a higher education loan has been accepted or rejected,” proposes the enactment.

In the event that a student’s loan application is rejected, the applicant is allowed to appeal the board’s decision in writing to its secretary for consideration or explanations.

The law which has now passed through the second reading stage if passed will give reprieve to many HELB beneficiaries as most of them come from poor families and find it difficult to secure jobs immediately after graduation.

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