HEF Portal 2023: How to apply For University Scholarships, Bursaries & Loans in Kenya

Discover the revolutionary HEF Portal 2023 in Kenya and learn how to apply for university scholarships, bursaries, and loans. Find your path to educational equality now!

Sep 6, 2023 - 17:16
Sep 6, 2023 - 17:15
 HEF Portal 2023: How to apply For University Scholarships, Bursaries & Loans in Kenya
 HEF Portal 2023: How to apply For University Scholarships, Bursaries & Loans in Kenya

As part of its commitment to democratizing higher education, the Kenyan government launched the Higher Education Financing (HEF) portal in 2023. This innovative initiative eliminates financial barriers hindering students from achieving their academic dreams. In this guide, we will unravel the intricate details of the HEF portal, providing step-by-step instructions on how to apply for university scholarships, bursaries, and loans.

Key Takeaways

Before you embark on your journey through the HEF portal, let's summarize the key takeaways to ensure you're well-prepared:

  1. The New Funding Model addresses funding challenges in Kenyan higher education.
  2. HELB, universities, TVET colleges, KUCCPS, State Department of Technical Education, institutions, and parents collaborate to make the NFM successful.
  3. The NFM promotes equity, granting needy students access to education without upfront payments.
  4. The HEF portal offers government funding to students from low-income households.
  5. The portal categorizes students based on need, ensuring tailored financial assistance.

 New Funding Model (NFM) For Universities

On 3 May 2023, the President of Kenya introduced a new funding model to address the challenges that public universities and TVET colleges face. The challenges primarily arise from massive enrolments coupled with insufficient funding. The NFM centers on students, allocating loans and bursaries based on individual needs assessed through the Means Testing Instrument (MTI).

Under this model, universities and TVET colleges no longer receive block funding through capitation. Instead, the funding will blend scholarships, loans, and household contributions. The most vulnerable and needy students will enjoy fully-funded education.

Role Players in the NFM

Various stakeholders will be actively involved in the implementation of the NFM:

  1. Higher Education Loans Board (HELB): They will be responsible for providing loans and bursaries to students enrolled in both TVET colleges and universities.
  2. Universities Funding: They will offer undergraduate scholarships to government-sponsored students enrolled in public universities.
  3. Kenya Universities and Colleges Placement Service (KUCCPS): They will handle the placement of students in their desired and qualified courses upon application.
  4. State Department of Technical Education: They will provide TVET scholarships.
  5. Higher Learning Institutions: They will receive loans and scholarships awarded to students through fees.
  6. Parents: They will support household contributions.

The Importance of NFM

The NFM presents a solution to various university challenges, including financial constraints. The model also guarantees eligible Kenyan students access to adequate education and financial support. Needy students are assured of affordable education as they won't pay anything, promoting equity and access to higher education. Students from affluent households are now required to apply for scholarships, while fee payment is based on the program's actual cost, saving universities from financial stress.

What is the HEF Portal?

On 31 July 2023, Education CS Ezekiel Machogu, during the release of the 2022 KUCCPS placements for KCSE candidates, unveiled a beacon of hope for Kenyan students - the Higher Education Financing (HEF) portal. This groundbreaking platform is set to equalize opportunities in accessing university and TVET education by providing 100% government funding to students from low-income households. In other words, these households will not need to contribute towards the program cost. On top of this, students will also receive upkeep from the loan proceeds.

How Does the HEF Portal Work?

Under the new funding model announced by President William Ruto, the government seeks to channel higher education assistance directly to individual students based on carefully curated criteria. The financial aid provided has been categorized into four bands: the vulnerable, extremely needy, needy, and less needy.

Those classified as vulnerable and extremely needy qualify for 100% government funding from scholarships and loans. Students deemed needy and less needy will get 93% of government funding, and the students will bear 7% of the tuition costs. However, it is vital to note that students in private universities are ineligible for the government scholarship fund. Still, they can apply for loans through HELB, adding to the inclusivity of the initiative.

Who Can Apply?

Eligibility extends to undergraduate students placed by KUCCPS 2023 in public universities and TVET students placed by KUCCPS in 2023 in public TVET colleges.

How to Apply for University Scholarships, Bursaries, and Loans

Securing financial assistance for your higher education aspirations is just a few clicks away. Follow these simple steps to navigate the HEF portal and unlock the funds that will pave your path to success:

  1. Visit the HEF Portal: Head to www.hef.co.ke, your gateway to a brighter future.
  2. Create an Account: Register as a new user by providing the required details.
  3. Choose Your Path: Select the relevant scholarship, bursary, or loan based on your needs and eligibility.
  4. Submit Your Application: Complete your application by providing the necessary information.

Mark your calendar—applications for the academic year commencing in September 2023 open on 3 August 2023 and close on October 7 2023.

What About Continuing Students?

If you're already on your higher education journey, fear not. The transition to the new model will maintain your funding. Continuing students will receive financial support per the previous model, ensuring their academic pursuits remain uninterrupted.

READ ALSO: Understanding the New Higher Education Funding Model in Kenya: An In-depth Guide

Final Thoughts

The HEF portal is a testament to the Kenyan government's commitment to fostering education for all. By providing a transparent and accessible platform for financial aid, this initiative erases the barriers that have long hindered students' dreams. As the country's future leaders step into higher education, the HEF portal is the gateway that will lead them to success.


Can private university students benefit from the government scholarship fund?

 Private university students are not eligible for government scholarships. However, they can apply for loans through HELB, ensuring inclusivity.

What determines the funding amount under the NFM?

 The funding amount depends on the financial category, chosen program, affirmative performance, marginalization, family background, etc.

How can continuing students expect their funding to be affected by the NFM?

Continuing students will receive funding per the previous model, ensuring a seamless transition.

When does the application period for the academic year starting in September 2023 open and close?

The application period opens on 3 August 2023 and closes on 27 August 2023.

Can I access the HEF portal if I'm a familiar user? 

Absolutely. If you've already registered, log in using your existing credentials.


This article aims to comprehensively understand the Higher Education Financing (HEF) portal and its significance in transforming higher education funding in Kenya. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, readers are encouraged to refer to official sources for the latest information and updates regarding the HEF portal and related policies.

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