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KU Students Warn Against Trippling University Fees

KU Students Warn Against Trippling University Fees

Kenyatta University student representatives have rejected a proposal to hike tuition fees in institutions of higher learning.

Vice-chancellors of public universities have recommended hiking fees from the current Sh16,000 per semester beginning in September next year.

And the idea has received the endorsement of the government, with Higher Education Principal Secretary Simon Nabukwesi confirming to Parliament that a technical committee has notified the Cabinet about the fee rise.

Kenyatta University students have urged the Universities Fund Board (UFB) Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Monari to reject the plan.

Kenya Universities’ Students Organisation (Kuso) President Antony Muchui claimed the price rise will deprive many impoverished students of access to university.

Muchui added that children from poor homes have a larger risk of dropping out of school than their counterparts from wealthier ones.

He said after it emerged that university executives spearheaded the pricing review during a meeting held in Mombasa last month.

‘‘The university officials had earlier requested that tuition rates be hiked to Sh48,000, up from the current Sh16,000 for fresh students which was virtually triple the fees,” alleged the KUSO chairman.

Muchui further remarked that the drive for revision of prices comes at a time when universities are facing a substantial decline in enrolment for self-sponsored programmes.

‘‘From the aforementioned, pursuant to Article 37 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 which provides the right to petition public authorities, we humbly pray that your honorable office considers this petition and further rejects and dismisses in its entirety with prejudice the Vice Chancellors’ petition to increase tuition fees in public universities,” he said in a protest letter to UFB.

The university board is pressing the government to raise tuition funding for HELB.

According to the board’s boss, it will cost the government roughly Sh870.8 million each year and Sh3.5 billion in four years.

“The University Fund has regularly received petitions from institutions suggesting that they are unable to satisfy their running costs and statutory requirements. This is, therefore, to call to Parliament to increase funding to the universities,” said Monari.

HELB Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera stated any fees hike will influence on loans allotment per student.

Being, HELB provides directly to universities half of the Sh16,000 fees currently paid by students to cater for their tuition.

“We send Sh8,000 directly to public universities and this means that if fees are increased by whatever amount, we shall still require financial support to pay half of that fees directly to the universities,” Ringera said.

A poll done by HELB showed that given the existing economic circumstances, a student requires around Sh200,000 annually for a university education.

Presently, all government-sponsored students are financed at a flat sum of Sh120,000 per year based on a formula devised in 1989.

Of this, Sh86,000 is tuition fees while Sh34,000 compensates for a student’s personal expenses including accommodation, food, and learning materials.

The government contributes Sh70,000 of the tuition money, leaving students left to pay Sh16,000.

HELB, however, claims a student needs Sh69,000 annually to cater for meals.

Accommodation needs are evaluated at Sh14,000, transit Sh11,500, clothing Sh12,500 and grooming Sh11,500.

According to Muchui, most students are hurting financially as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, and any fee hike will push them out of school.

In October, last year, public colleges were given a blow after the High Court in Nairobi forbade schools from increasing tuition costs.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union had contested a decision by the University of Nairobi (UoN) to enforce increased levies on students.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Anthony Mrima concluded that the differentiated unit cost, the mechanism the institution had relied on to make the modifications, was unconstitutional as it was not subject to public consultation at the time of implementation.

“A declaration is hereby issued that the implementation of the maximum differentiated unit cost criteria by the first respondent [the University of Nairobi] through the handbook of fees payment is unconstitutional and null and void ab initio,” said Mrima.

KU Students Warn Against Trippling University Fees


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