Kenya is host to tens of universities and hundreds of tertiary institutions. All these schools serve the single purpose of providing advanced education for young people and prepare them for careers.
But these institutions aren’t built the same. Some are reputable all over the world while others are barely known past their counties. Some have the most beautiful campuses that you’d mistake them with an Ivy, while others don’t look different from local primary schools.
Some are big in all aspects thinkable, while others are not. And today, we’re focusing on that. We’ll find out the biggest universities in Kenya.
Now, what comes to mind when you think of a big university? In my case, three things pop up; land size, population and financial budget.
A university with thousands of acres under its name can be considered bigger than one operating in feet squared. Also, a university with thousands of students can definitely swallow an institution with a hundred students in one of its classes. Lastly, budget matters too. Why? Because institution budget is (almost) directly proportional to population and real estate/land.
I did my research and acquired data from numerous sources. Common references included: The Star, Wikipedia and University Annual Reports
So, here are
The Biggest Universities in Kenya
The University of Nairobi is the largest university by population; 93,200 people where 72,000 are undergraduates, 13,000 are postgraduates, and 8,200 are teaching and administrative staff. It is also the largest by the annual financial budget which stands at Ksh 13.23 Billion.
South Eastern Kenya University is the largest university by land size; it owns 14,500 Acres of land spanning Kitui and Makueni counties.
Break down of the most prominent universities in Kenya
The University of Nairobi is Located on an undisclosed acreage in Nairobi City. It has a population of 93,200 and an annual budget of 13.23 billion, according to the Ministry of Treasure budget allocation for the 2020/21 financial year. UoN is also known to have some of the most gorgeous university ladies in Kenya.
Kenyatta University is the second-largest university by population. It has a total populace of 76,000, where 71,000 are undergraduate and postgraduate students while 5000 are staff. Kenyatta University sits on a 1000 Acre piece of land along Thika Superhighway and operates at a Ksh 8.807 Billion annual budget.
Mount Kenya University is the largest private university and third-largest university by population, having enrolled over 52,000 undergraduates and postgraduates and employed over 5000 staff members. The institution’s tremendous growth over the past two decades has made it a highly reputable and preferred institution in the country.
Moi University comes forth with a population of 56,500 people where 52,000 are students and 4500 are teaching, non-teaching and administrative staff. Its main campus located at Kisses, Uasin Gishu County, occupies 3000 Acres making it the second biggest university by land size. Moi University operates on a Ksh 6.93 Billion annual budget.
Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology takes the 5th position of the largest universities in Kenya with 53,000 people; 50,000 students, and 3000 staff. JKUAT sits on a 494 Acres/ 200 Ha piece of land in Juja donated by President Jomo Kenyatta during its foundation. JKUAT operates on the third-largest annual budget after UoN and KU, having been allocated Ksh 8.77 Billion.
The Technical University of Kenya, located at the Center of Nairobi City on a 31.46 Acre piece of land, commands a population of 25,000 students with the help of 1844 teaching and administrative staff and an undisclosed number of subordinate staff. The university was allocated Ksh 2.85 Billion shillings for the 2020/21 financial year.
Maseno University is the largest university in the Western and Nyanza Regions. It has a population of 24,000, composed of 21,000 students and 3,000 staff members. The campus is located in Kondele, 25 KM from Kisumu city. Maseno runs on a Ksh 3.51 Billion budget according to the latest financial allocation.
Egerton University is the second-largest university in the Rift Valley region after Moi University. It has a student population of 18,500 and a staff populace of 1950 totalling 20450. Egerton occupies a 740 Acre piece of land in Njoro, approximately 25 KM southwest of Nakuru City. The institution runs on a Ksh 4.026 Billion budget.
The Dedan Kimathi University of Technology is tucked in the chilly lands of Nyeri, with a total area of 990 Acres, making it the fourth-largest university based on acreage. The institution is home to over 15,450 people, 14000 of whom are students.
Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology occupies a 133 Acre land in Kakamega county and is home to 17,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, 1500 teaching and administrative and 2500 subordinate staff.
Public universities dominate when it comes to size. Most likely, they were founded on land donated by the government, have been equipped by the government for decades and continue enjoying funding from the government. Hence they outpace private institutions.
Nonetheless, Mount Kenya University has beaten the odds by showing tremendous growth to become competitive among more established institutions.
However, more data is needed, especially from unmentioned institutions, to rank all universities in Kenya based on all three criteria. If you have an addition or contribution to make, leave a comment below.