Helb to list names, photos of student loan defaulters in Kenya

Monday November 18 2019

Helb loan applicants.

Student loan applicants at the Higher Education Loans Board offices in Kenya's capital Nairobi on September 19, 2014. The agency says it will publish the names and photos of beneficiaries who have failed to repay their loans. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

OUMA WANZALA
By OUMA WANZALA
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The Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) in Kenya plans to name and shame some 85,000 defaulters if they do not repay their student loans.

Helb, which has been smoking out defaulters in every possible hideout, says it will also publish photos of the men and women who have failed to repay their loans, now standing at Ksh50 billion ($500 million).

In a statement on Sunday, the board said defaulters will have 30 days to come forward and explain how they will repay the loans.

The national higher education financier says it requires the cash to help other poor Kenyans realise their dream of acquiring degrees and diplomas.

LEGAL ACTION

Helb said some of the beneficiaries in default have not responded to previous communication, therefore hindering financial support to other deserving Kenyans.

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“The names and pictures will be published after the expiry of 30 days from the date of the notice and therefore legal action may be taken against each defaulter,” added the statement.

The board has now asked beneficiaries who are not servicing their loans to get in touch with it for particulars of their loan account.

Last year, Helb recovered more than Ksh500 million ($5 million) following a two-month amnesty that was issued by the government.

According to Helb, it cannot trace 17,000 defaulters, while by last year 85,000 loan defaulters were owing the agency.

A total of 169,909 graduates had fully repaid their loans worth Ksh13.2 billion ($132 million) by September 2017, while some 136,783 beneficiaries were servicing loans worth Ksh20.7 billion (207 million).

Since 1974, the university loan scheme has supported over 645,000 Kenyans to pursue higher education at a total cost of Ksh72 billion ($720 million).

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