Higher Education Loan Board (HELB) plays a very fundamental role in ensuring Kenyans are financially empowered while pursuing tertiary education. It enables needy students to pay for school fees and act as a reliable source of pocket money for others.
Despite this, it can be and has been a menace to many once they graduate and fail to secure employment. This is courtesy of the interests and penalties that accumulate as time goes by.
While these charges are integral to the sustainability of the HELB program, and also to future HELB loan beneficiaries, they can be manipulated and transformed into a money cow for a few individuals. Yet also, a faulty system can be the reason behind the manipulation.
This is why every HELB loan beneficiary needs to download their HELB loan statement and scrutinize all the transactions that have been made since the first disbursement was done
Recently a friend informed me of erroneous penalties charged in his HELB loan statement on the account that he was a defaulter. Yet this friend graduated in 2019 December and his grace period of one year had not yet elapsed.
On further inspection, he realized the penalty had been charged while he was in the fourth year of his 5 year program. This can only mean two things;
Either the system is so faulty that it doesn’t recognize 5-year, 6-year programs and doesn’t know there is a grace period after graduation in which beneficiaries are not supposed to be penalized, or there might be an inside job trying to milk Kenyans.
Considering the many scams reported in which public servants in Kenya collude to alter government systems to benefit financially, for instance, the NHIF case, you can’t rule out this point.
So what should you do?
1. Know the facts, and these are the facts:
- Currently, the maximum Loan HELB can award is Ksh 50,000 plus a bursary of Ksh 8,000
- The annual interest applicable for direct entry students is 4% per annum and 12% per annum for salaries beneficiaries
- The interest becomes applicable immediately after the first disbursement.
- The interest is charged on the total amount disbursed at any point. This means the interest accrued in the first year will be charged on the first year disbursement while the interest in the 4th year will be charged on the total amount disbursed from year 1 to year 4.
- You have a grace period of up to 1 year after graduation, in which you should not be penalized if you have not secured a job. After this, you will be penalized for non-payment.
2. Do the math
Calculate the approximate amount of HELB Loan you are required to repay.
“Disclaimer; these are just approximations meant to give you an idea of the average amount of loan accrued.”
For instance, assuming you get Ksh 40,000 HELB loan for a 4-year program
- Year 1: 1.04 * 40,000 = 41,600
- Year 2: 1.04 * (40,000 + 41,600) = 84,864
- Year 3: 1.04 * (40,000 + 84,864) = 129,859
- Year 4: 1.04 * (40,000 + 129,859) = 176,654
This final figure; 176,654 should act as your basis when you check your loan status in the portal. If it’s higher by a couple of thousands, then you need to move to this next step.
3. Download your HELB loan Statement and scrutinize it.
First, you need to get hold of your HELB loan statement
- Log in to https://portal.helb.co.ke
- Go to loan reports in the top menu and click on Loan Statement
- In the Loan statement ledger, click Print Statement.
The statement will be downloaded into your computer in PDF form.
Now open it and start going through from the very beginning. Check for Penalties on the description column and suspicious amounts such as Ksh 5000 (which is the penalty for non-payment) in the debit column. Also, make sure you check the date for any suspicious charge.
If you spot anything erroneous, make sure you contact HELB offices using these contact and request an explanation for the anomaly.
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/HELBpage
- Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/HELBpage
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 0711 052000