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The New University Funding Model: Implications for Parents' Financial Burden

The recent implementation of a new funding model for universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has sparked discussions about its impact on parents' financial responsibilities. While the model aims to save public universities and colleges from financial collapse, concerns have been raised about the potential increase in fees for parents and the burden of student loans. This article analyzes the new funding structure and its implications for parents, highlighting the varying contributions based on different student categories.

Understanding the New Funding Model:

The new funding model incorporates a combination of scholarships, loans, and household contributions. It classifies students into four categories: vulnerable, extremely needy, needy, and less needy. Each category determines the percentage of scholarships, loans, and parental contributions applicable to the students.

Vulnerable Category:

Students classified as vulnerable are eligible for 82% scholarships and up to 18% in loans. Parents are exempt from making any financial contributions in this category. The government aims to provide ample support to ensure that the most financially disadvantaged students can pursue their education without any added financial burden.

Extremely Needy Category:

Students in the extremely needy category receive 70% scholarships and up to 30% in loans, with parents not contributing financially. While this category extends financial assistance to a broader range of students, concerns have been raised about the potential implications of significant loans on these students' futures.

Needy Category:

Needy students are eligible for 53% scholarships and up to 40% in loans, with parents contributing 7% towards the educational expenses. This category seeks a balance between financial assistance and parental contributions, creating a shared responsibility for the cost of education.

Less Needy Category:

Students in the less needy category are entitled to 38% scholarships, loans of up to 55%, and parents' contributions of 7%. This category recognizes a higher level of financial independence among students and their families, with a reduced reliance on financial assistance.

Financial Determination:

To place students in the appropriate category, the government will rely on data from various State agencies, including tax returns, health insurance, and retirement contributions. This data will provide a comprehensive understanding of each student's financial background and the capacity of their family to contribute towards educational expenses.

Implications for Parents:

Critics argue that the new funding model may overburden parents, particularly those in the needy and less needy categories, who will be required to contribute economically. Parents' financial responsibility will be determined based on the specific student category and the associated scholarship and loan percentages.

Case Study: Bachelor of Commerce:

To better illustrate the financial implications for parents, let's consider the Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of Nairobi. The total annual fee for this program is Ksh220,150. For students in the vulnerable category, parents will only pay Ksh39,627 after a scholarship of Ksh180,523 provided by the government.

In the extremely needy category, parents will be responsible for a contribution of Ksh66,045, which includes a 30% loan and Ksh154,105 as a scholarship. Needy students' parents will make a household contribution of Ksh22,015 and hope for an additional 50% scholarship from the government, resulting in a Ksh110,075 scholarship. With an added loan of Ksh88,060, parents will pay a total of Ksh110,075.

Less needy students' parents will contribute Ksh15,411 while benefiting from a Ksh83,657 scholarship and a Ksh121,083 loan, resulting in a total fee of Ksh136,493.


The new funding model for universities and TVET institutions aims to ensure their financial stability, but it also introduces changes in parents' financial responsibilities. While the government intends to provide more financial support to vulnerable and extremely needy students, there are concerns about the burden placed on parents and the potential challenges of repaying significant student loans. It is essential for parents and students to understand the implications of this model and plan accordingly to ensure affordability and accessibility to higher education.

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