The Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) has unveiled a five-year action plan accompanied by new website aimed at easing loan application, boost uptake and step up recovery. The four-point strategic plan covering 2013-2018 seeks to transform Helb into a self-sustaining agency with minimal reliance on Treasury's annual capitation. The roadmap launched Tuesday coincided with that of a 'reloaded' website which is targeted at weeding out hassles during loan application, processing and repayment. "The twin launch is geared at making Helb's loan experience hassle-free; less traffic to our offices, less paper work while at the same time reaching out to more students," said Helb CEO Charles Ringera during the unveiling at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre Tuesday. The higher education financier said the new website would help solve jamming problems experienced in the past when students apply, resulting in delays. The board, Mr Ringera said, was keen to wean itself off State dependence by aggressively pursuing alternative financing models including partnering with county governments, corporates and international agencies alongside making loan recovery measures watertight. The four pillars of the strategic plan include financial sustainability, customer service delivery, internal processes re-engineering and corporate governance. During the launch, Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang noted that the Treasury had allocated Helb additional Sh300 million in the Supplementary Budget with a promise for more. "We know Helb is operating on tight budget, hence the need to seek for alternative sources of finance towards becoming a development finance institution," he said. READ: Students face rise in loan rates as Helb plans bonds Dr Kipsang said half of the 200,000 students who missed places in secondary school this year would be admitted to technical and vocational training centres to be financed by Helb loans and bursaries. These group is eligible to a loan of up to Sh30,000 and bursary in the range of Sh8,000 to Sh15,000.
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