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UNILAG maintains fee hike to cover rising costs

Folasade Ogunsola

Folasade Ogunsola, vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, has affirmed that the institution will not be reverting the increased fees due to the realities of the prevailing overhead cost of running the university.

Ogunsola disclosed this on Saturday, September 9, 2023, during a conversation held virtually to brief reporters on the university’s position over the recent fee hike and the consequent purported students’ protest.

“There have been calls to return fees, but that is impossible. We had a committee to review our bills, and we needed to increase the price.

Our electricity bill is about N1.7 billion per annum, and the cost of conducting examinations is now four times what it was last year. The university needs funds to meet its daily services,” she said.

The vice-chancellor reiterated that the cost of quality education must be paid if the country wants quality education. She said, “If the university is to provide quality education, we don’t have a choice but to increase fees.

Somebody has to pay for quality education. If the government comes in now and asks us to reverse, we will.”

She further explained that for the past 15 years, the university has not increased its fees. Hence, the overhead cost became an accumulated financial challenge to the management.

The university revealed that the institution spends about N100 to N200 million on accreditation annually. The service cost is over N500 million, and what the university gets from internally generated revenue does not cover its expenses.

Read also Unilag warns proposed students protest may lead to closure of institution

Besides, she said the prevailing surge in the cost of living also affects the university’s finances. “We are not unaware of the problem in the country. The university is even a victim of it,” she said.

Ogunsola applauded the government for helping the university shoulder some financial burdens.

“The heaviest cost of the university bill is the staff cost, and the government takes care of that. Government through the TETFund helps with the infrastructure, but the university takes care of the overhead cost,” she explained.

However, she assured that no indigent student will be allowed to drop out of school provided they contacted the school authorities.

“The university knows that there are needy students, and we will care for them.

We introduced instalment payment of fees to help reduce the burden on them. Besides, we are running a work and study programme for them. We were paying N100-N200 per hour but have increased it to N500 – N1,000.

We are not insensitive to the plight of the students; we are also partnering the Lagos State government with the Rapid Transit System to ease students’ transportation fares,” Ogunsola said.

Concerning students who participated in the protest, the vice-chancellor maintained that she is an apostle of peaceful protest because it allows students to evaluate and express their views over developments on campus critically.

Read also Outrage over UNILAG’s new tuition fees amid harsh economy

“No student is pencilled down for sanction. I have no problem with peaceful protest. The protest was not violent, so there is no reason for sanction,” she noted.

According to the vice-chancellor, the new fees are N126,325 for new students in non-laboratory courses and N176,325 for new students in laboratory courses.

While returning students in non-laboratory courses are to pay N100,750, those in laboratory courses are to pay N140,250, and medical students are to pay N190,250.

She said that the fees are necessitated because UNILAG is the most energy-using tertiary institution and the most internet- and data-driven university in the country.

“This is to make our students globally competitive,” she said.