In Kenya, every university must be established through a Charter or a Letter of Interim Authority, as dictated by the Higher Education Act. This article delves into the process of Establishing a University in Kenya, from applying for accreditation to obtaining a Letter of Interim Authority, which grants the institution certain privileges.

We will explore the critical aspects of Establishing a University in Kenya and shed light on how it shapes the landscape of higher education in Kenya.

  1. Charter Application and Governance Structure

The journey to establish a university begins with a written application to the Commission.

Applicants must adhere to a prescribed format and submit a draft Charter that outlines essential aspects of the proposed university, including governance structures, financial management, academic programs, and more.

The Charter serves as the blueprint that guides the university’s future operations and development.

  1. Letter of Interim Authority: A Step Forward

Upon receiving applications, the Commission evaluates the applicant’s resources and overall compliance with the Higher Education Act. If satisfied, the Commission recommends the issuance of a Letter of Interim Authority to the Cabinet Secretary.

This Letter grants the applicant temporary status as a body corporate with certain rights and responsibilities.

  1. Empowering the University with a Letter of Interim Authority

The Letter of Interim Authority empowers the institution to function as a body corporate, capable of suing and being sued, acquiring and disposing of assets, and performing acts typically associated with a corporate entity.

Additionally, it allows the institution to establish a governing body, assemble academic resources, admit students, and set up internal quality assurance mechanisms.

  1. Duration and Revocation of a Letter of Interim Authority

A Letter of Interim Authority typically lasts for four years, but it can be extended by the Cabinet Secretary upon the Commission’s recommendation.

Revocation is possible if the institution fails to meet requirements or upon application by the institution itself. Such revocation would lead to winding up the institution in accordance with the Act.

  1. Preparing for Charter Grant: The Accreditation Report

The Commission prepares an accreditation report six months before the expiration of the Letter of Interim Authority. . This report assesses whether the applicant has met all the conditions required for establishing a university.

Based on this report, the Cabinet Secretary decides on granting a Charter or any necessary actions.

  1. Emphasizing Data Protection in the Application Process

Throughout the application and accreditation process, the Commission must handle any personal data presented with utmost care, adhering to the data protection principles outlined in the Data Protection Act.

Ensuring data security and privacy is vital for maintaining trust and transparency in the establishment process.


The establishment of a university in Kenya is a meticulously regulated process governed by the Higher Education Act. The application for Charter or Letter of Interim Authority requires comprehensive planning and compliance with specific guidelines set by the Commission.

The Letter of Interim Authority grants temporary status, enabling the institution to function as a body corporate and develop its academic programs. With the right steps and adherence to regulations, aspiring universities can contribute to the growth and development of higher education in Kenya.

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