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Joint Admissions Board (JAB).
The Kenyan Universities have expanded in the recent past and their number now exceeds thirty. There are seven public universities in Kenya. The seven public universities are University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, JKUAT University, Maseno University, Egerton University, Moi University and Masinde Muliro University. There are also many public universities in Kenya. The most famous public universities include Strathmore University, USIU University, Daystar University, Kabarak University, University of Eastern African baraton, St.Pauls University, Mount Kenya University, Inoorero University, Africa Nazarene University etc.
Admission to Kenyan Universities is fairly straightforward. It is done by the Joint Admissions Board (JAB) which meets quite a few times each year. Jab is made up of admission officials and vice chancellors of all the public universities.
-Admission straight from high school.(After sitting the KCSE exam)
If you are applying to Kenyan Universities straight from high school, you will need to get at least grade C+. However, this grade is merely on paper. Due to increasing demand for tertiary education and the limited opportunities available, admission to public universities has been cut throat. The admission grade has hovered around grade B for the past few years. When assigning you the courses, the public universities use what is known as the weighted cluster points. The weighted cluster points are a derivative of the overall aggregate points and the raw cluster points. The overall aggregate points that one can score in the KCSE exam is 84 points while the least number of points that one can score in the exams is 7. The raw cluster points are made up of the individual subjects that are most relevant to the course that one wishes to study. For instance, if one wants to study medicine, the raw cluster points would be composed of English/Kiswahili, Mathematics/Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
The maximum weighted cluster points are 48 and they will keep on reducing as the overall aggregate points and the raw cluster points keep on reducing. The more competitive the course, the higher the weighted cluster points required. Such courses as medicine, electrical engineering, Actuarial science and pharmacy will naturally require a higher weighted cluster point. If you have not attained the necessary weighted cluster points for the given course, JAB will invite you to revise your choice of the courses.
-Kenyan Universities (Public) -Admission and application as a diploma holder
You can join the Kenyan Universities as a diploma holder. In many cases you will join in your second or third year. You can also pursue a discipline that is totally different from your earlier degree if you already hold a bachelors degree.
Kenyan Universities (Public)-Admission for self sponsored/privately sponsored or parallel degree students.
Due to limited chances available through the government sponsored programs, the higher education sector was liberalized in 1998 when the University of Nairobi admitted its first set of self sponsored students. Some students also prefer to enroll in the parallel programs if they have not been admitted to their preferred course of study. In addition, some students do not wish to stay at home for long periods of time and hence prefer to join the parallel programs. It is important to remember that the students admitted through the regular program often have to stay home for up to two years. To be admitted as a self sponsored/parallel student, you will need to have gotten at least grade C+ and a C+ in both math and English. If you have not attained a C+ in the individual subject, you will have to undergo a bridging course, which usually takes three months.
Kenyan Universities (Private)-Admission and application.
Admission to Kenyan private universities is done by the respective universities. You will however need to obtain a minimum of grade C+ in order to be admitted. The private universities also have may look into extra curricular activities when admitting when admitting a student.
Kenyan Universities- Academic Courses offered
There are many courses offered and you would need to visit the individual universities to find the course catalogue. Some universities also excel in some areas. For instance Kenyatta University is widely known for its teaching while JKUAT University is known for its engineering programs. Similarly, UON is known for a slew of courses in medicine, business, engineering and offers the most courses in the country. Strathmore University is known for business and IT courses while USIU is known for business, international relations and the social sciences.
Kenyan Universities- Tuition Fees charged
The fees charged by Kenyan Universities varies. The fees charged by public universities for regular student’s ranges from Kshs. 28,000 to kshs.56, 000 per academic year depending on the University. Regular student’s fees are heavily subsidized by the government. The fees for parallel/self sponsored students in Kenyan public Universities depends on the course that one is pursuing. For instance, if one is pursuing a course in medicine, they should prepare to pay anywhere between Kshs. 400,000 to kshs.600, 000 per academic year. A course in engineering costs anywhere between kshs.120,000 to kshs. 250,000 per academic year depending on the course and the university. A science course costs anywhere between kshs.100,000 to kshs.200,000 per academic year. An art course costs anywhere between kshs.70,000 and kshs. 180,000 depending on the course and the University. In many cases , the fees quoted above excludes room, board and other miscellaneous expenses.
The fees charged by private universities differs. It may be anywhere between kshs. 120,000 and kshs.400,000 per academic year. Unlike public universities, the private Universities have to pay lecturers from their own costs and so they might charge more for their expenses.
Kenyan Universities-Helb loan application
One can apply for Helb in order to meet the cost of daily expenses. Nearly all the regular students are successful in applying for Helb loans. Nowadays, Helb has also started offering loans to students in parallel programs and those in Private Universities. However, make sure that you start repaying the loans as Helb has been very aggressive recently in pursuing loan defaulters. The Credit Bureau reference Africa records all your credit history and if you are unable to repay the helb loans, you will have a hard time accessing loans from commercial banks.
Nearly all government sponsored students can be considered to be on scholarships since their education is largely subsidized. Regular students can also obtain bursaries from Helb, CDF, trusts such as rattansi fund. Kenyan private universities also offer a number of their own scholarships. One of the most famous scholarships is the Guinness/EABL scholarship that is tenured at Strathmore University. One will however have to pursue either a business or IT related course.
Kenyan Universities-Endowment funding
Kenyan Universities do not have a significant endowment funding. The only University that seems to have a large endowment fund is USIU (which is in millions). Clearly, Kenyan Universities have not mastered the art of alumni networking to help raise endowment funds and donate to their alma mater.
Kenyan careers and teaching jobs in Universities plus postgraduate opportunities in Kenyan Universities..
Teaching jobs in universities in Kenya have not been so forthcoming as the government has reduced the funding of the universities over the years. Some of the Universities, such as JKUAT, retain high achieving students who score first class honors and reabsorb them into the teaching force. The postgraduate scholarships in Kenyan Universities are not too many but helb does provide a loan to bright but needy students. Many students do take out loans to pursue their masters and PhD programs. The most popular post graduate course in Kenyan Universities is the Masters In Business Administration (MBA). This is partly as a result of many students wanting to climb the corporate ladder rather quickly However, the jury is still out on whether the MBA has really produced better managers.
Kenyan Universities ranking (Local and Global ranking)
According to the webometrics ranking of universities globally (January 2011 release), The University of Nairobi was the highest ranked Kenyan University. It was position twenty seven in Africa. It was closely followed by Strathmore University, USIU, Kenyatta University. JKUAT University, Egerton and Moi University also make it to the top 100 in Africa.Webometrics mainly ranks universities according to their web presence in a bid to encourage the Universities to publish more journals electronically. Globally, the best ranked university was MIT followed Harvard and Stanford in that order. One would be advised to look at other ranking bodies such as Shanghai Jiatao ranking of Universities, Times Higher education ranking, US News&World report ranking, etc. Get the JAB weighted cluster points table here