Cost Sharing in Higher Education in Kenya: Implications on Equity and Access

By Mary Ngolovoi.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Higher education in Kenya like in many other African countries was completely free after independence. Students who attended public universities after independence in 1963 did not pay for either tuition or living expenses. This was solely the responsibility of the government. In the early 1990s, the government was financially overwhelmed because of increased demand for higher education, contending public needs (primary and secondary education, health and infrastructure), slow economic growth, and pressure to reduce financing of higher education from donors such as the World Bank. Consequently, the government could no longer afford to finance all the students pursing higher education. This led to the introduction of cost sharing in higher education in the early 1990s. Cost sharing is the shift of some costs from governments and taxpayers to parents and students (Johnstone, 2006). Under this new premise of cost sharing, it was expected that students and/or parents would pay or at least share in the expenses of tuition, accommodation, meals, transportation, and books, which were all costs that had previously been borne by the government. Cost sharing must co-exist with student loans or grants in order to address the issues of equity and access. Student loan schemes enable universities to enroll needy students while at the same time achieving their mission of research and scholarship. In an attempt to increase access and address equity in higher education, the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) was established in July 1995 to administer loans to needy Kenyan students who score highly on the university entrance examination. This paper looks at the implications of cost sharing in relation to access and equity.

Keywords: Financing, Higher Education, Kenya

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp.65-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 497.701KB).

Mary Ngolovoi

Ph.D Student, Education Leadership and Policy, State University of New York - Buffalo, Amherst, New York, USA


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