Diversification of higher education loans board funding in public university education and its impact on access in Kenya
Sikolia, Jacqueline Naliaka
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The main purpose of this study was to determine diversification of HELB funding of public university education and its impact on access in Kenya and seek for suitable solutions. It has been realized that the funds are not adequate to fully finance public university education causing limited access. This means that the trend of under-funding in public education sector especially the university sub-sector is expected to persist in the foreseeable future. The study evaluated the funds available for the students to access public university education in Kenya, identified challenges faced by HELB and their impact on access to public university education, examined the impact of diversifying funding sources for public university education on access in Kenya and finally determined strategies of improving Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) funding in university education to ensure adequate access in Kenya. The research adopted the Social System Theory of Bertalanffy (1972) to support the research variables. This research employed a descriptive survey study design; which is concerned with the generalized statistics that result when data is collected from respondents; as a better option for intervening in the diversification of financing public university education. The researcher used questionnaires and interview schedules to collect data. With a target population of 324, simple random sampling technique was used to sample respondents in these groups namely; 150 HELB officers, 44 Huduma center officers, 10 officials from donor firms and 10 KUCCPS officers totaling to a sample of 225 respondents for this research study. Data was obtained using questionnaires and interview schedules and analyzed by use of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Computer Package Version 21. Both qualitative and quantitative data analysis was used to analyze the collected data. Responses from questionnaires were organized according to pertinent aspects of the study. The results were presented using descriptive statistics by use of frequencies, tables, graphs, and pie-charts. The study found out that the funds available for students are not adequate and that the criterion of disbursement of funds is very controversial because it lacks transparency and accountability. Further, funds available from well-wishers cannot cope with the high demand of students increasing annually. The research recommended that more sources should be included in diversification strategy and managed by HELB. The Ministry of Education should introduce proper policies to enhance and streamline transparency and accountability of the funds. Finally, strict and aggressive measures should be put in place to reclaim the funds from the graduates to efficiently sustain the revolving fund system. Additionally, this research strongly recommends further study on diversification of funds for Technical, Vocational Education and Training institutions in Kenya to increase access to tertiary, technical education and enable the Big Four Agenda.