• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Parents, students lament untold hardship as universities hike fee

Tuition hike worries linger as student loan drags

Parents and students are lamenting the negative effects of the recent hike in university fees will subject them to more hardship considering the excruciating times caused by accelerating inflation and economic downturn.

Yemisi Ogunsola, a parent with a 200-level child at the University of Lagos, said the recent fee hike by the institution has thrown her off balance, coupled with the high cost of living eroding households’ living standards in Nigeria.

“The situation is precarious and excruciating, we do not even know what to do. We are paying a surging electricity tariff, transport fare is on the rise, coupled with the high cost of food items.

“What do we do? The situation is traumatising, I don’t even know how to go about it because we cannot ask the poor boy to withdraw, and engineering courses take more years, so we are just praying that the authorities will have a change of mind,” she said.

Adeshina Kazeem, a student in the faculty of education at UNILAG expressed concerns over the fee hike and called on the government to intervene.

“There is hardship in the country and this increment will compound it more. Government should do something about it,” he said.

Another student Tomosin Adekunle said, “I think it is outrageous for a federal university to hike fees at such a high margin.”

Adekunle believes that the university management should have considered the financial capacity of most of the parents and/or guardians who usually cater for the cost of the attendance of the students, save for some students who have to source for funding themselves.

”They can still review the fees downward to accommodate many students who may not be able to meet up with the cost,” he noted.

Blessing Nwachukwu, 100 level Biochemistry student at the University of Benin bemoaned the hike, describing it as ill-wind that blows crises to both students and parents.

“The increment is happening at a hypercritical time in Nigeria when the masses are faced with multitudinous challenges which include petrol subsidy removal and inflation.

“The truth is that the purchasing power of many families has been humbled by inflation. Hence, an increment in fees amounts to moving many students, especially those from poor homes, from the frying pan into a burning fire,” she said.

Petrol prices in Africa’s biggest economy are selling at an average of N652 per litre from an average of N191.8 per litre two months ago, according to BusinessDay’s calculation of NNPC’s new/old price list after the government ended its subsidy programme.

The situation has led to a fresh spike in prices of all items, further heaping pressure and taking its toll on households and businesses.

For instance, a bag of rice now sold for N44,000 against N32,000 sold before the subsidy removal. Transport fare from Oshodi to Obalende is now at N800 to N1000 as against N400 to N500 before subsidy removal.

However, in the face of these untold hardships, many public universities across the country have increased fees for the 2023/2024 academic year citing prevailing economic realities and the need to be able to meet obligations to students and stakeholders in the face of high cost of living.

The management of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) recently increased its fees and in the new payment structure, students in non-laboratory courses are to pay a total sum of N100,750, students offering laboratory courses are to pay a total sum of N140,250, while medical students will pay N190,250.

Read also: Will Africa rise or fall on education?

Before the increase, returning undergraduate students on the campus had been paying between N26,000 and about N76,000, depending on the courses of study and the level of the students.

Similarly, the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) increased its fees, especially for students studying MBBS, as the fees was hiked to a whopping sum of N252,500 for New Students, and N233,000 for returning students.

The university’s fees skyrocketed from N29, 830, to about N74, 000; while registration fee at the university is N58, 000.

The University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has also announced a 100 percent hike in fees, fresh students across the faculties in the university are to pay a consolidated fee of between N114, 650 and N120, 650, while older students are expected to pay between N85, 000 to N95, 000.

Before the new development, old students in the institution paid a fee of N40, 000, and new students N83, 000.

The University of Uyo (UNIUYO) is not left out, as it has raised its charges from N48,000 to N105,000 for new students.

The Federal University Lokoja (FUL), Kogi State, fees for new intakes that was N56, 000 is now N188, 500. Fees for fresh students in arts and social sciences that was fixed for N55, 000 was increased to N183, 500 just as returning students are expected to pay N113, 000 as against N47, 000 old fee.

The University of Benin (UNIBEN) recently hiked the registration and tuition fees by 38.4 percent for science courses and 40 percent for non-science courses.

The university management pegged N190,00 fees for science students, as against N73,000, about 38.4 percent increase, while non-science students are to pay N170,000 against the usual N69,000, about 40 percent hike.

Emmanuel Osodeke, president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has condemned the increase in fees.

According to the ASUU leader, an increase in fees in tertiary institutions could lead to the withdrawal of indigent students as the decision is counterproductive.

Ifeanyi Eke, an educationist said it is incredible the situation Nigerians have found themselves with the fee hike by the various universities.

“What the government is saying is that education is not for the children of the poor in the country. Most of the students in public universities are from poor homes, how will they cope with this?” he asked.