One main reason that barred many Kenyan students from joining institutions of higher learning was failure to reach the cut-off mark for admission. Others were just unable to raise the tuition fee, which saw a lot of great minds go to waste.
Kenya has witnessed the rise of many public and private universities over the years, with reduced entry points to ensure that a higher percentage of high school leavers get enrolled in universities here.
There is a great gain in having more universities in Kenya because it gives an opportunity to more students to gain post-secondary education. This will ensure that the country retains great minds that can contribute positively in growing the country economically.
Most students joining universities outside Kenya usually end up working in the other countries which impacts negatively on the Kenyan economy. Providing more opportunities and options for citizens to locally build their careers will guarantee a quality workforce for the country.
2016 Public Universities Intake in Kenya
Public universities are government funded and Kenya has several as listed below:
University of Nairobi (UoN)
Founded in 1956, the University of Nairobi is the oldest and most prestigious University in Kenya. It has its main campus in the heart of Nairobi City, several campuses within the city and major towns across the country. It boasts of a great record of achievements over the years with several public figures, for instance Deputy President, William Ruto, forming part of its alumni.
The second university to be established in Kenya after Nairobi University, Moi University boasts of eight campuses and two constituent colleges. It was established in 1984 and is located in Eldoret. It has witnessed steady growth since its inception and still has more room for growth. It shares a name with Kenya’s second president, Daniel Toroitich arap Moi.
2016 Kenyatta University (K.U) Intake
Commonly referred to as K.U, Kenyatta University, established in 1965, is the second largest university in Kenya. It is located along the Thika super highway with campuses within the Nairobi City and other towns in Kenya. Kenyatta University boasts of having the first female Vice Chancellor in Kenya, Dr. Olive Mugenda. It is good to note that Kenya’s 3rd president, Mwai Kibaki, went through Kenyatta University.
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)
With its main campus located in Juja town, along the Thika super highway, JKUAT as it is commonly known was started in 1981. It shares a name with Kenya’s first president, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
It was initially a college of agriculture and technology, but soon evolved into a university that offers other disciplines in Science, Technology, Engineering and Architecture. It has over the years stayed true to its motto “To set trends in Higher Education, Research and Innovation” and has been preferred by many researchers. It also has campuses within Nairobi and in other towns across the country.
2016 Egerton University Intake
Egerton University has its main campus in Njoro, Nakuru. It was started as a Farm School, graduated to an Agricultural College before it became a fully fledged public university in 1988. It got its name from the late Lord Maurice Egerton, a baron from Tatton, Cheshire who once lived in the area and who donated the land that the university stands.
It has campuses in Nakuru town, Nairobi and Baringo.
Located on the shores of L. Victoria along Kisumu-Busia highway, Maseno University was a constituent college of Moi University before it gained its university status in 1991 and became fully fledged in 2000. Apart from its main campus in Maseno town a few kilometers from Kisumu City, Maseno University has two other campuses in Kisumu City and Homabay Town.
Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology
Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology is the youngest public university in Kenya. It was formerly known as Western College of Science and Technology as a constituent college of Moi University before it became a fully fledged public university in 2007.
It derives its name from a former politician, the late Masinde Muliro, who hails from that region and was its founder. It is located in Kakamega town a few kilometers away from Kisumu City in Western Kenya. It offers several academic Programmes under different schools and faculties.
Dedan Kimathi University of Technology
Named after Kenya’s iconic figure, the late Dedan Kimathi, this university was established in 1972 under the name Kimathi Institute of Technology. It later changed its name to Kimathi University College of Technology in 2007 when it became a constituent college of JKUAT. Finally its name changed to Dedan Kimathi University of Technology when it gained university status in 2012.
Chuka University in Chuka town was established in 2004. It became a constituent college of Egerton University in 2007 before standing on its own in 2012.
Technical University of Kenya
Kenya Technical University was established in 1961 under the name Kenya Technical Institute. It later changed its name to Kenya Polytechnic, which offered Technical and Vocational Education and Training Programmes.
It later became Kenya Polytechnic University College in 2007 as a constituent college of the University of Nairobi before gaining university status in 2013.
Technical University of Mombasa
Established in 1940, Technical University of Mombasa has seen a series of name change over the years from the Mombasa Technical Institute, Mombasa Polytechnic, the Mombasa Polytechnic University College as a constituent college of JKUAT and finally to Technical University of Mombasa in 2013 when it gained university status.
The main campus is in Tudor with campuses in Satellite, Kwale and Lamu.
Located in Kilifi County, it was established in 2007 as the Kilifi Institute of Agriculture. It later became Pwani University college as a constituent college of Kenyatta University before being accredited in 2013 as Pwani University.
Located in Kisii town, Kisii University was established in 1965 as a Primary Teachers’ College. Later on in 1983 it was elevated to the Secondary Teachers’ College.
It then became Egerton Campus in 1994, Kisii University College in 2007 as a constituent college of Egerton University and finally Kisii University in 2013. It has 2 campuses in Kisii town and another one in Eldoret town.
University of Eldoret
University of Eldoret was accredited in 2013. It was once known as Chepkoilel Campus, a campus of Moi University. It was later elevated to Chepkoilel University College as a constituent college of Moi University before becoming the University of Eldoret.
Masai Mara University
Located in Narok town, it was established in 2008 as a constituent college of Moi University. It gained university status in 2013 and became Masai Mara University.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology
Formerly Bondo Teachers College and Bondo University College, a constituent college of Maseno University, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology was established in 2009 and received accreditation in 2013.
It is named after Kenya’s first Vice President, the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, who hails from the region where the university stands.
Located in Laikipia town, Laikipia University was a constituent college of Egerton University before it became an accredited university in 2013. It has campuses in Nyahururu, Naivasha and Maralal.
South Eastern Kenya University
Referred to as SEKU, it was established in 2008 as Ukamba Agricultural Institute before being accredited in 2013. It is located in Kitui town and has campuses in Wote Town, Kitui town, Mtito Andei, Mwingi, Tala and Nairobi City.
Multimedia University of Kenya
Multimedia University of Kenya was established in 1948 as a Central Training School but was accredited as a university in 2013. It mostly offers courses in ICT and Mass Media. It has two campuses, the main campus is along Magadi Road while the other campus is in within Nairobi’s CBD.
University of Kabianga
University of Kabianga was started in 1925 as a Government School before becoming Kabianga Teachers Training College in 1929. 1959 saw it become Kabianga Farmers Training Centre before becoming Kabianga University College in 2007 as a constituent college of Moi University. It was accredited in 2013 and has campuses in Kapkatet and Kericho Satellite.
Karatina University, located in Karatina town was established in 2008. It gained university status in 2013 and so far has 4 campuses; Karatina Town Campus, Itiati Campus, Nanyuki Campus and Riverbank Campus.
Meru University of Science and Technology
Located in Meru, Meru University of Science and Technology was established in 2008 and accredited in 2013. It has one other campus in Meru town.
Murang’a University College
It was established in 1975 and was accredited in 2011 as a constituent college of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Murang’a University College is located in Murang’a town.
A List of Private Universities in Kenya
Kenya also has a number of private universities and they include:
Zetech University is currently the newest private university in Kenya. It was founded in 1999 and works in collaboration with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology to offer various disciplines from JKUAT and also their own courses. It is located in the heart of Nairobi City and has 5 schools so far.
It has 3 campuses within Nairobi’s CBD and one campus on Thika Road. It offers Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Degree programs with different approved examining bodies.
Riara University is one of the newest private universities in Kenya. The institution is part of the Riara group of schools and offers various programmes to their students. The institution is located in Nairobi and has different schools offering different courses. The schools include:
- Riara School of Business
- Riara Law School
- Riara School of ICT
- Riara School of Education
- Riara School of Foundation Studies
Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA)
Simply referred to as CUEA, Catholic University of Eastern Africa was started in 1984 as a Theology School under the name Catholic Higher Institute of Eastern Africa. In 1992 it was granted a charter by the Ministry of Higher Education in Kenya to operate as a private institution.
United States International University (USIU)
Commonly known as USIU, United States International University is one of the oldest private universities in Kenya. It was established in 1969 as the Africa Campus of United States International University in San Diego, California but was awarded an independent charter in 1999.
A private university based in Nairobi, Kenya, Strathmore University started out in 1961 as a college offering science and arts subjects. It was chartered as a private university in Kenya in 2007.
Started in 1962 by an American Missionary Donald Smith and an African journalist, Motsoko Pheko, Daystar University, with its main campus in Athi River along Mombasa Road, has grown into a renowned private university in Kenya. It has five schools and thirteen academic departments and boasts of alumni like famous stand up comedian, Eric Omondi.
Mount Kenya University
Mount Kenya University was founded in 1996 as a Computer Outreach Program. It was then known as Thika Institute of Technology. It was accredited in 2006.
The University of Eastern Africa, Baraton
Located 50km away from Eldoret town, Baraton University as it is commonly called is a Seventh Day Adventist run institution founded in 1980. It offers several degrees in graduate and undergraduate programs.
Africa Nazarene University
Africa Nazarene University was established and accredited in 1994. It is affiliated to the Church of Nazarene hence its name and has its main campus in Ongata Rongai with a campus in Nairobi City.
Scott Christian University
Scott Christian University was established in 1962 under the name Scott Theological College. It later changed its name to Scott Christian University when it was accredited in 1997 offering other courses apart from theology. It is grounded on strong Christian values.
Located 20km away from Nakuru town, Kabarak University was founded by former president Daniel Moi in 2001. It later received accreditation in 2006. It offers bridging courses, certificate, diploma, degree, postgraduate and doctorate programmes.
Kiriri Women’s University of Science and Technology
Just as its name suggests, it was founded majorly to empower women in science related fields. It offers courses that are only science based and has intakes twice a year; May and September. It boasts of being the only women’s university in East and Southern Africa. It was established in 2001.
Pan African Christian University
Commonly known as PAC, Pan African Christian University was established in 1978 as a Bible College. It was fully accredited and chartered as a private university in 2006. It is located off Thika super highway a few kilometers away from the United States International University.
Kenya Methodist University
Kenya Methodist University or KeMu as it is known locally was founded by the Methodist Church in 1997. It is located a few kilometers from Meru town. It has seen a steady population growth from the time of inception to the current population of over 10,000 students. It has satellite campuses in Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa and Nyeri.
Gretsa University is located within Thika Municipality and was established in September 2006. It started with 3 pioneer degree programs in Business, Hospitality and Computer Science.
Adventist University of Africa
Adventist University of Africa is a Seventh Day Adventist created university whose main aim is to offer postgraduate programs. It has two departments; the Seminary and the School of Graduate Studies.
Great Lakes University of Kisumu
Formerly known as the Tropical Institute of Community Health and Development, Great Lakes University of Kisumu was established in 1998 and gained university status in 2006. It offers undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate programmes.
KCA university was founded in 1989 as the Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA) to answer to the rising need of certified public accountants in Kenya. It was awarded a letter of interim authority to operate as a university in 2007.
St. Paul’s University
St. Paul’s is a private, Christian Chartered University in Kenya that offers societal relevant education focusing on the whole person. The graduates are therefore competent in areas of study and general skills of life. The University has its Main Campus in Limuru and other campuses in Nairobi, Nakuru and Machakos. The University is an internationally recognized private institution that provides education to over 5,000 students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The Christian principles and perspectives on life, and a student body and faculty that represent different countries, provide a diversity that enriches learning and your stay at the University.
It is expected that more universities will come up in Kenya over the next couple of years. This will increase opportunities to the ever increasing population of Kenyan students. The increase of universities in Kenya will also make higher education more affordable to many as they will benefit from the competition among the different institutions.