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Varsities Renew Push To Triple Tuition Fees

Varsities Renew Push To Triple Tuition Fees

Vice chancellors have renewed a push to raise tuition fees starting the mid-next year in public universities.

A memo from the Ministry of Education reveals university officials want to raise first-year costs.

The memo follows a conference of vice-chancellors on September 23 to discuss financial sustainability options for universities that rely on short-term loans.

Officials had proposed increasing tuition fees for fresh students to Sh48,000 from Sh16,000 to relieve cash flow difficulties that have hindered service delivery.

This is the first major change to university prices since the termination of free education in 1991 and the introduction of student loans in 1995.

Universities are seeing a drop in self-sponsored program enrollment after the government decided to completely finance students with a C+ in the KCSE exams.

Parallel degree course students have over years generated billions for institutions. 

“The students paying should pay realistic tuition fees. Thus, review the Sh16,000 tuition payable since 1992,” reads a resolution made by the vice-chancellors.

They petitioned the State and University Funding Board (UFB), which re-costs university courses and fees, to increase tuition.

The student pays Sh8,000 of the Sh26,000 annual average fees, while Helb pays the other half. Registration, amenity, medical, and activity costs take the rest.

In 2010, a World Bank and government-backed research proposed public universities quadruple fees and Helb loan interest. Student unions opposed it.

Rapid expansion, declining student enrollment, decreasing State financing, and mismanagement have strained public institutions financially in recent years.

They must minimize expenditures and become financially sustainable.

Ministry of Education data suggest schools struggle to pay payroll taxes, retirement benefits, and insurance payments.

Universities haven’t paid Sh34 billion in staff dues, exacerbating their cash flow crisis.

Vice-chancellors owe vendors around Sh68 billion. In 2017, the government began funding universities using the differentiated unit cost (DUC) model, which bases expenditures on the number of undergraduate students and courses they take.

Liberal arts received less funding than engineering and medicine.

Before DUC, each academic program received Sh120,000 per student per year.



With the DUC, the government will subsidize 80% per student while institutions and students cover the remaining 20%.

UFB data shows that government-sponsored student capitation has plummeted to 48%, leaving universities with a Sh68.35 billion financing imbalance as of June last year.

Several institutions have eliminated courses and closed satellite campuses to cut costs.

Kenyatta University had a Sh1.3 billion deficit in the year to June, requiring it to rely on short-term loans.

The Auditor-General noted the university has financial problems and relied on costly borrowings, which could deteriorate liquidity.

The University of Nairobi’s financial deficit worsened by Sh330 million to Sh1.62 billion in the year to June 2020, highlighting its cash flow challenges.

The Auditor-General warned the university had financial problems and would likely not meet its obligations.

Varsities Renew Push To Triple Tuition Fees

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