Increase Helb and seal loopholes to ensure poor get it
Most people believe that university students live in opulence.
They think students receive huge sums of money from the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) that is enough for their fees, accommodation, maintenance and leisure.
This false belief makes even family members not to support their own financially.
The naked truth is, not everybody gets the meagre amount and, for those who do, it’s never enough to cater for basic needs.
In most cases, Helb money delays. Poor students have to borrow cash and repay with interest.
Students have had to come up with survival tactics, taking meals using the “Code 001” system. That means you skip breakfast and lunch and eat supper. Code 010 means you skip breakfast, eat late lunch and skip supper while Code 100 means you eat late breakfast and skip lunch and supper.
Code 001 is the most popular.
Helb funds should be increased to ensure the students are comfortable. County governments, too, should identify poor students and sponsor them through college.
Luka Kirubi, Kisumu.
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Only the needy should apply for a Helb loan. Sadly, most poor students don’t get it. The rich pass themselves off as poor while filling application forms, eating into the share for deserving cases.
We need measures to ensure what is put down in the application form is true. How about a requirement to attach proof of fee balance to the application form?
MACREEN AWUOR, Kisumu.