HELB Loans for Self-Sponsored Students in Kenyan Universities

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HELB loans are available for self-sponsored students in Kenya, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. There is one limitation that will make you frown a little.

But before we get there, let’s set the stage with a brief introduction to HELB because I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have stumbled here if you weren’t curious about it.

HELB (Higher Education Loans Board) awards loans to students who join public and private universities in Kenya at an annual interest of 4%. These loans provide financial relief to students who find it hard to finance their tertiary education.

Which reminds me, HELB loans can help elevate financial burden while studying but be aware interest accumulates and once you graduate you will need to start paying your loans because employers will require a HELB clearance certificate before they can even interview you.

Originally, these loans were meant for government-sponsored students admitted through Joint Admission Board which transitioned to KUCCPS. However, the government extended the service to provide loans for self-sponsored students in Kenya.

Self-sponsored students are therefore eligible to apply for these loans which range from a minimum of Ksh 40,000 to a maximum of Ksh 60,000.

So what limitation was I talking about?

While government-sponsored students get about 90% of the loans awarded deposited in their bank accounts and a standard Ksh 8000 remitted as school fees, self-sponsored students have all the cash paid as school fees once annually.

This doesn’t settle well with most comrades who wanted to enjoy the experience of getting HELB loans for personal use. However, considering that most university students never make good use of their loans, this system seems to work in favor of the self-sponsored students over the long run.

An administrative fee of Ksh 500 per year is usually deducted from your disbursed loan.

Meanwhile, bursaries only apply to needy government-sponsored students; SSP students are not eligible to apply.

Loan Disbursement for Government and SSP students Source: HELB

How Self-Sponsored students apply for HELB loans.

The process is the same for all but before you begin, ensure you meet these two conditions

  • You have been placed by the KUCCPS (Kenya Universities and Colleges Placement Service) in the local and private universities
  • You are studying for a Bachelor’s Degree.

Why did they lock out pre-university, certificate, diploma and postgraduate students? Seems like they only empower dreams from a select few.

Application process

  • Visit HELB student portal at portal.helb.co.ke
  • Register to create an account.
  • Log in and select Undergraduate First Time Loan Application Form
  • Fill the loan application form
  • Print 2 copies of the filled form
  • Have the forms filled, signed and stamped by the relevant authorities
  • Sign to accept the Loan terms and conditions

Present one copy of the completed forms attached with all supporting documents at any Huduma center in the country or HELB headquarters (Anniversary Towers in Nairobi). Retain the other copy

Honestly, I think it’s much safer to personally deposit the filled copy at Anniversary Towers, or through a friend. Huduma Centers are functional but for a fact, they act as brokers in this case. Thus the document might get not get delivered in the main office and you will have a hard time tracing it.

The documents that must be attached with the filled form include

  • Copy of National ID
  • Copies of Parents National IDs or Death Certificated where the parent is deceased
  • Copies of guarantor’s National IDs
  • Copy of Applicant University Admission letter
  • Copies of KCSE Result Slip and Certificate
  • Copy of Applicant’s Smart Card from the institution if there is one.
  • Recent colored passport size photo of the Applicant.

In case you are government-sponsored and you accidentally stumbled here, make sure you have a copy of Bank ATM Card too.

The sad truth is that not everybody is awarded the loan and evidently, a smaller percentage of SSP students get these loans as compared to their counterparts.

If you get lucky and are awarded, take note that the disbursement will be done only once a year at the start of the second semester and as earlier stated, all the cash will go to your school fees, which is why you don’t need a copy of Bank ATM card to apply.

You are advised to start the application early enough before the opening dates of an academic year to allow enough time for processing.

88 Comments

  1. I received 40000when applied for first time application then I have applied for second subsequent loans others have received there’s even those who applied recently mine jus saying loan allocated but nothing in my bank account am in tvets institution what could be the problem

    • Hey Richard, be a little patient, you’ll receive the money. If you dint receive it within 4 weeks, contact HELB offices to check out the issue.

  2. I received 40000when applied for first time application then I have applied for second subsequent loans others have received there’s even those who applied recently mine jus saying loan allocated but nothing in my bank account am in tvets institution what could be the problem

    • Hey Richard, be a little patient, you’ll receive the money. If you dint receive it within 4 weeks, contact HELB offices to check out the issue.

  3. Hae,,, I was placed by kuccps in a college to persue diploma yet I changed to mku,,,, am I legible to apply for helb as a selfsponsered student

  4. Hae,,, I was placed by kuccps in a college to persue diploma yet I changed to mku,,,, am I legible to apply for helb as a selfsponsered student

  5. I am STANLEY……I have applied for a loan as a self sponsored student but the only option showing is government sponsored……how can I proceed pls?

  6. I am STANLEY……I have applied for a loan as a self sponsored student but the only option showing is government sponsored……how can I proceed pls?

  7. Hi am brenda ….am currently doing a diploma course at KU ….I was looking forward on applying helb loan ….am I eligible? Since am a self sponsored student

    • Hey Brenda, unfortunately, to apply for HELB as a self-sponsored student you ought to be undertaking a degree course.

  8. Hi am brenda ….am currently doing a diploma course at KU ….I was looking forward on applying helb loan ….am I eligible? Since am a self sponsored student

    • Hey Brenda, unfortunately, to apply for HELB as a self-sponsored student you ought to be undertaking a degree course.

  9. hey am a government sponsored student as i was placed by kuccps but when i apply am being told that i am applying as a self sponsored student and I should visit the education background and correct my year of KCSE and and index number which perfectly fine, please help am stuck on what am doing wrong

    • There might be an issue with your data in the HELB portal and the best way to get it solved is by contacting HELB or visiting HELB offices as you have been requested.

  10. hey am a government sponsored student as i was placed by kuccps but when i apply am being told that i am applying as a self sponsored student and I should visit the education background and correct my year of KCSE and and index number which perfectly fine, please help am stuck on what am doing wrong

    • There might be an issue with your data in the HELB portal and the best way to get it solved is by contacting HELB or visiting HELB offices as you have been requested.

  11. hey i got a placement last year by kuccps but i changed for another institution can i still be eligible for a loan under tvet

  12. hey i got a placement last year by kuccps but i changed for another institution can i still be eligible for a loan under tvet

  13. Hi my name is Brian Otieno
    I am a tvet student
    My helb loan has been allocated 40k and it has been directed all to the institution
    Yet its not my first application
    On my 1st sem i was awarded 26400 to the school
    And 6800 was sent to my bank
    What could be the problem?

    • Hey Brian, I’m not sure why that happened. Recently there has been a debate about increasing the fees for university students since institutions are in big debts, maybe that might be a reason why, Helb is directing money to paying fees as a priority over sending you money as pocket money. But you cannot be sure until you ask HELB offices to explain why they did so. Please reach them through twitter or go to their offices.

  14. Hi my name is Brian Otieno
    I am a tvet student
    My helb loan has been allocated 40k and it has been directed all to the institution
    Yet its not my first application
    On my 1st sem i was awarded 26400 to the school
    And 6800 was sent to my bank
    What could be the problem?

    • Hey Brian, I’m not sure why that happened. Recently there has been a debate about increasing the fees for university students since institutions are in big debts, maybe that might be a reason why, Helb is directing money to paying fees as a priority over sending you money as pocket money. But you cannot be sure until you ask HELB offices to explain why they did so. Please reach them through twitter or go to their offices.

  15. wait, am not sure i got this right. if I am a self sponsored student in UoN (law), placed in Kisii university(acturial science) by KUCCPS, can I still apply as a government sponsored student? thanks in advance

    • Hey Gathoni. You cannot apply as a government sponsored students if you choose to undertake a degree as a self sponsored student even if you were placed by KUCCPS.

  16. wait, am not sure i got this right. if I am a self sponsored student in UoN (law), placed in Kisii university(acturial science) by KUCCPS, can I still apply as a government sponsored student? thanks in advance

    • Hey Gathoni. You cannot apply as a government sponsored students if you choose to undertake a degree as a self sponsored student even if you were placed by KUCCPS.

        • Hey Lukr…its very hard to have your disbursement amounts increased…they will probably just give you what they have been giving you. You can try requesting and see how it goes. Meanwhile apply for other funds such as bursaries. All the best

        • Hey Lukr…its very hard to have your disbursement amounts increased…they will probably just give you what they have been giving you. You can try requesting and see how it goes. Meanwhile apply for other funds such as bursaries. All the best

  17. I have a desire to parsue degree on a certain course but i cant afford paying even partly. I did diploma some years back. Can i rely on HELB to cater for all fees?

    • Sadly no, HELB only pays a dedicated amount of fees, around 8K per year. So you have to be government sponsored for you to pay a the subsidized amount of school fees which can be paid by the rest of your HELB plus a little more funding from bursaries. For instance, if you apply and get government sponsorship for your degree course your school fees will be around 20k to 30K per semester. If you apply for a HELB loan and get at least 40k, you can use the entire 40K to pay for your fees for two semester and if it is not enough you seek bursaries and financial support from university funding. That’s how you will manage.

  18. I have a desire to parsue degree on a certain course but i cant afford paying even partly. I did diploma some years back. Can i rely on HELB to cater for all fees?

    • Sadly no, HELB only pays a dedicated amount of fees, around 8K per year. So you have to be government sponsored for you to pay a the subsidized amount of school fees which can be paid by the rest of your HELB plus a little more funding from bursaries. For instance, if you apply and get government sponsorship for your degree course your school fees will be around 20k to 30K per semester. If you apply for a HELB loan and get at least 40k, you can use the entire 40K to pay for your fees for two semester and if it is not enough you seek bursaries and financial support from university funding. That’s how you will manage.

  19. I applied as a self sponsored student yet I was placed by KUCCPs to persue a degree course,will I able to get my loan to my account,since I did it mistakenly to apply as a self sponsored student,yet I provide all the details?

    • Hey Dominic, applying as a self sponsored places you in a disadvantaged position when it comes to getting a HELB loan since you are considered more capable to cater for your financial needs. You are likely to miss the first year loan and if you do, apply again the next time HELB opens the window for applications. Make sure you provide the right details next time. However, if you get a loan in the current conditions, you must be one lucky human being.

  20. I applied as a self sponsored student yet I was placed by KUCCPs to persue a degree course,will I able to get my loan to my account,since I did it mistakenly to apply as a self sponsored student,yet I provide all the details?

    • Hey Dominic, applying as a self sponsored places you in a disadvantaged position when it comes to getting a HELB loan since you are considered more capable to cater for your financial needs. You are likely to miss the first year loan and if you do, apply again the next time HELB opens the window for applications. Make sure you provide the right details next time. However, if you get a loan in the current conditions, you must be one lucky human being.

  21. I was admitted in a course i didn’t apply for by KUCCPS but has opted to go as SSP in my preferable course. However when applying as SSP, the form that appears is the one stating i am government sponsored placed by kUCCPS..can i just go ahead and complete it or SSP has a different form for loan application.

    • Hey Angeline, thats a technical problem with the system. If that’s what you’re experiencing with the new HELB portal, then you should either inquire with HELB customer care especially through twitter of just go ahead and apply for your HELB loan as a government sponsored student coz after all you have better chances to be awarded a loan as a government sponsored student than ssp.

  22. I was admitted in a course i didn’t apply for by KUCCPS but has opted to go as SSP in my preferable course. However when applying as SSP, the form that appears is the one stating i am government sponsored placed by kUCCPS..can i just go ahead and complete it or SSP has a different form for loan application.

    • Hey Angeline, thats a technical problem with the system. If that’s what you’re experiencing with the new HELB portal, then you should either inquire with HELB customer care especially through twitter of just go ahead and apply for your HELB loan as a government sponsored student coz after all you have better chances to be awarded a loan as a government sponsored student than ssp.

    • Hey Meshack, Yes needy students listed on CRB are still eligible for HELB loans. HELB does not look at CRB before awarding loans to needy students.

    • Hey Meshack, Yes needy students listed on CRB are still eligible for HELB loans. HELB does not look at CRB before awarding loans to needy students.

  23. Hi…I personally applied as self sponsored student last year..is it possible for me to apply a subsequent one as government sponsored come next year when going to second year.

    • Hey Sam, i thinks its doable as long as you can prove government sponsorship by providing the admission letter. Since this is a little complicated, it is advisable to visit the HELB offices at Anniversary towers to be guided on the way forward.

  24. Hi…I personally applied as self sponsored student last year..is it possible for me to apply a subsequent one as government sponsored come next year when going to second year.

    • Hey Sam, i thinks its doable as long as you can prove government sponsorship by providing the admission letter. Since this is a little complicated, it is advisable to visit the HELB offices at Anniversary towers to be guided on the way forward.

  25. Hi. Im planning to study diploma in fashion design as a self sponsored at the Technical University of Kenya. I’m i eligible for the loan.

  26. Hi. Im planning to study diploma in fashion design as a self sponsored at the Technical University of Kenya. I’m i eligible for the loan.

  27. hey,for a selfsponsered student,does the amount between 40,000-60,000 paid in all semester as in each semester the amount or is paid only in one of the semesters as in a year the total is between 40- 60k

    • Hey Ronald, if you get a 40k HELB loan, you will receive two 16k payments, one in each of the two semesters in an academic year. The remaining 8k goes to your fees. If you get 60k, you are paid two 26k payments, one for each semester, and as before the remaining 8k goes to your fees.

  28. hey,for a selfsponsered student,does the amount between 40,000-60,000 paid in all semester as in each semester the amount or is paid only in one of the semesters as in a year the total is between 40- 60k

    • Hey Ronald, if you get a 40k HELB loan, you will receive two 16k payments, one in each of the two semesters in an academic year. The remaining 8k goes to your fees. If you get 60k, you are paid two 26k payments, one for each semester, and as before the remaining 8k goes to your fees.

    • Yes Patriciah you are. However, your application must show that you are in need of HELB funding. So if your financial situation based on the details you input in the application form portray a well-off background, you might be denied the loan and instead a more needy person awarded.

    • Yes Patriciah you are. However, your application must show that you are in need of HELB funding. So if your financial situation based on the details you input in the application form portray a well-off background, you might be denied the loan and instead a more needy person awarded.

  29. Hello, l was wondering why my loan statement says that the loan has been disbursed but the money has not been deposited in my account and it has been like that for over 5 months now

    • Hey Naomi, I’m not very sure why that is the case but i thing the government is holding the money until when university academic year will commence again. You can reach out to HELB customer care on twitter for more clarification on the matter.

  30. Hello, l was wondering why my loan statement says that the loan has been disbursed but the money has not been deposited in my account and it has been like that for over 5 months now

    • Hey Naomi, I’m not very sure why that is the case but i thing the government is holding the money until when university academic year will commence again. You can reach out to HELB customer care on twitter for more clarification on the matter.

  31. What about if I want to apply for self sponsored part time program.will I eligible?I did my KCSE some years back.

    • Hey Janet, unfortunately, you are not eligible to apply for the Undergraduate HELB loan that this article majored on. As indicated by HELB, the undergraduate loan is only applicable to direct entry students under KUCCPS placement. However, upon researching on other HELB products, I found two HELB loan types that might be applicable to your case. They include County Education Fund and Constituency Education Fund. Click on either of them to check out if they can work for you.

  32. What about if I want to apply for self sponsored part time program.will I eligible?I did my KCSE some years back.

    • Hey Janet, unfortunately, you are not eligible to apply for the Undergraduate HELB loan that this article majored on. As indicated by HELB, the undergraduate loan is only applicable to direct entry students under KUCCPS placement. However, upon researching on other HELB products, I found two HELB loan types that might be applicable to your case. They include County Education Fund and Constituency Education Fund. Click on either of them to check out if they can work for you.

  33. What of self sponsered undergraduate students not employed or on any pay slip pursuing medicine, because from the reading shows much on they who are already working. Bearing in mind the amid crisis of unemployment amongest the youths

    • Hello, Okecha…im not really getting your question but I think you are asking how unemployed graduates will deal with the payments. Well, the government doesn’t really care to offer unemployed youths relief from the interest of the loan until they get a job. This, therefore, means you need to forge a way of generating some income so as to repay your loan. I personally wish the government can do this in order to reduce the financial burden HELB loans give to unemployed youth.

  34. What of self sponsered undergraduate students not employed or on any pay slip pursuing medicine, because from the reading shows much on they who are already working. Bearing in mind the amid crisis of unemployment amongest the youths

    • Hello, Okecha…im not really getting your question but I think you are asking how unemployed graduates will deal with the payments. Well, the government doesn’t really care to offer unemployed youths relief from the interest of the loan until they get a job. This, therefore, means you need to forge a way of generating some income so as to repay your loan. I personally wish the government can do this in order to reduce the financial burden HELB loans give to unemployed youth.

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