Higher education loans schemes influence on Participation rates in distance education programmes in the school of Education, Kenyatta University
Ochola, Tom Onang'o
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The study assessed the influence of the Higher Education Loans Scheme on participation rates in the distance education programme in the School of Education, Kenyatta University. Tt examined students' loan application success levels, adequacy of the amount allocated and chaIlenges facing distance education students when applying for higher education loans. The study employed the expost- facto design and targeted 20 university administrators and 2,000 students from which a sample of 15 administrators and 121 students was selected. Data were collected using questionnaires. Closed-ended items were analysed using quantitative statistics while open-ended items were analysed using descriptive statistics. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 18.0 was used to facilitate data analysis. The findings were presented using frequency tables and graphs. From the findings it was established that most distance education students have never applied for higher education loans while a substantial number of applicants were not given the loans as they could not meet all the conditions. The findings also show that HELB loans allocated to distance education students were not adequate in covering students' fees requirement The study further revealed that HELD loans for distance education students has not had a significant influence on participation rates with a substantial number of students stagnating in their studies making them unable to keep up with their cohorts. The study also established that some students have dropped out of the distance education programme due to inability to pay the required tuition fees. The study revealed that poor dissemination of information on HELB loans and prohibitive conditions placed on loan applicants was the biggest challenge facing distance education students when applying for HELB loans. The study recommended availing of information on loan application to students on time through the most accessible media so as to allow them enough time to apply for the loans. HELB should also review the loan terms and conditions so as to make HELB loans easily accessible to needy/deserving students and provide feedback to applicants so as to give them time to look for alternative sources of funding in case they have been unsuccessful. HELB should also decentralize their operations to increase the public's access to loan application materials as well as increase the pace of processing loans so as to ensure that loan disbursement is done on time to avoid students being locked out of the course registration process. Government's budgetary allocations towards HELB should be increased so as to ensure that sufficient funds are set aside for higher education loans for distance education students. Lastly the government and HELD should put in place policies to ensure that higher education loans are awarded to all distance education students like the case of regular students so as to ensure that deserving students are given loans.