Despite Kwara govt’s N1.592bn subvention claims, KWASU denies receiving fund

Varsity proposes fee increment

Students groan

We’re committed to our promises – Kwara govt

There is growing apprehension among students of the Kwara State University over a reported plan by the university management to review their school fees ahead of the 2019/2020 academic year.

The students who took to social media to express their grievances advanced that an increment in the tuition fee, especially in the wake of the economic shock of the pandemic, would render many helpless.

This reporter gathered that the new development was disclosed to students’ leaders in a closed-door meeting with the management where it was advanced that the proposed fee would be used to cater for the peculiar needs of various courses in the school.

It was also gathered that the review is necessitated by the financial imbalances bedevilling the institution which led to its inability to offset lecturers’ salaries while optimally running the university without subvention from the state government

The planned review which was termed ‘Programme Needs Fee’ ranges from N25,000 to N50,000 based on the course studied by students with new intakes paying 75 per cent of the fee while 25 per cent would be slammed on returning students.

This is coming at a time the students are all hopeful their tuition fee would be reduced. The current tuition fee charged by the institution ranges from N109,500 to N210,000 for indigenes and non-indigenes respectively.

But the university management in a rejoinder signed by its Acting Registrar, Muhammad Shuaib, discarded the viral claim, stating that the university has not banged additional fee on the students. He described the news of the proposed fee on social media as a rumour. The statement, however, stated that the management is in a “robust discussion” with students’ leaders to improve the financial status of the university.

“The Management of the Kwara State University, Malete wishes to inform the public that there is no iota of truth in the rumour making rounds that the management has increased KWASU Students’ school fees.

“We, however, wish to state that there is an ongoing robust discussion between management and the students’ union leaders on ways to improve on the financial standing of the university towards the provision of standard teaching and learning regime.

“In line with our desire to entrench a culture of participatory governance in the administration of the university, management has ensured that the conversation has been democratic, peaceful and harmonious. It is important to state that no concrete decision has been for now. We, therefore, urged the general public to disregard this fake rumour,” the statement cautioned.

Proposed Fee detrimental to us – Students

For an average student of the university, their school fee is about to be increased by the management. But the school is denying the allegation. This is, therefore, instilling restlessness in the students.

The Student Union President of the university, Kozeem Olaitan Hanafy, stated that the release by the university management, denying the advance to review the students’ school fees is an attempt to whitewash the image of the university. Hanafy who stressed that the proposed fee is dead on arrival noted that introducing a new fee amid the economic shock of the pandemic is ill-advised as most parents would not be able to afford it.

“The university issued the memo not because it is not the fact. But then probably they are trying to save the image of the university which is what I understand. On Friday, we met with the committee of Deans set up by the school management to tell us about their plans to introduce a particular fee that would be tagged programme need fee. I made it clear to them that we don’t want them to introduce any fee. This is not the right time to introduce an additional fee because most parents don’t even know where to source for our school fees due to the economic situation of the country. We explained to the vice-chancellor who made a recommendation that new intakes would pay 75 per cent of the proposed fee while returning students would pay 25 per cent.”

Mr Hanafy said the students are aware the school has not been receiving subvention from the state government but noted students’ school fees should not be the sole string the management relied upon in running the university.

Even so, he added the students are hopeful of a reduction in their school fees, not an upward review. He, therefore, called on the state governor to live up to the expectations of the students who are still hooked in the nightmare of his campaign promises, one of which is to reduce the tuition fee of the university.

“We made it known that we are aware of the fact that the university is being run without subvention from the state government. But then, introducing a new fee to our school fees is sudden. Everyone expects a reduction in the fee. It is so sad. In fact, it is not that no fee should be added to the school fees, we want a reduction. We told them that the students are ready to support the management.”

He continued, “I remember vividly when the governor was campaigning for election, he promised to reduce our school fees, but the management keeps lamenting that they have not been receiving subvention from the state government. If the management wants the students’ union to help them on this matter, we are ready to stage a peaceful protest calling on the state government to start giving the school subvention. Imagine, the only state-owned university in the state is not receiving subvention, how does the government want the school to survive? It’s bouncing back on the students because the school would keep introducing new fee.”

An indigene of the State pays a tuition fee of N109,500. With additional fees such as departmental fee N20,000; fitness fee N1,000; E-learning fee N7,000; Student Union Due N1,000; Counselling and Career services N2,650; a returning student under the “indigene” category pays N141,150 for ‘non-professional’ courses every session.

For students in the “non-indigene” category studying “non-professional” courses, tuition fee is N210,000. With those additional fees, a non-indigene returning student would have to cough out N240,650 every session.

Final year students pay much more with the inclusion of graduation fee. This fee arrangement also excludes transaction charge fee of N300 and accommodation fee which is mandatory on all students. Students in 200 – 300 level who are uninterested in staying in the school hostels would be made to pay an exemption fee of N5,000

For new students under the “indigene” category, a total sum of N109,500 is paid as tuition fee. Other fees schedule includes matriculation gown fee N1,000; Student Union Due N1000; counselling and career services N2,650; departmental N20,000; student handbook N3,000; fitness N1000; eLearning services N7,000; GNS textbook (Use of English) N3,000.

A new student under the indigene category pays a total of N148,150 while a new student under the ‘non-indigene’ category pays a sum of N248,650. This excludes Transaction charge fee of N300; acceptance fee of N35,000 and accommodation fee of N60,000 naira.

The payment schedules were as of the 2018/2019 academic session. For those studying ‘professional’ courses, the fees vary based on the peculiar needs of their programme.

In the wake of the last governorship election, the state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, had promised to look into the plights of the students regarding exorbitant fees being paid by students of the university if elected. A year after, the governor pledge is like a drop in the water. The students are still being charged high as ever.

Some students who spoke with this reporter agreed with Mr Hanafy. They were not happy with the new development as many claimed some of their colleagues had either dropped out or deferred their admission because they could no longer afford the exorbitant fees charged by the university management.

One of them is Adenike Olusola who believed that though without the increment students still find it difficult to pay their school fees, the proposed fee would further worsen their plights.

“With the increment or not, a lot of students would find it difficult to pay their school fees while some would be forced to deferred the session. The proposed fee is not justifiable at a time like this because even the rich are also caught in the grip of the economic hardship in the country. We all know the management has been reviewing fees for a while now solely because they have not been receiving subvention from the state government, and if the school wanted to make the students their source of income, it is not the right time.”

Another student of the university who identified himself as Oluwasegun said the proposed fee is an attempt to jettison the founding values of the university which is to promote grassroots development. He added that no development can be made when students are forced to drop out because they could not afford to pay the school fees.

“The proposed fee is a clear intent by the university management to sabotage the vision of the university, the reason it was established, by increasing the burden of guardians. Such fee in my view is an instituted criminality to make students defer their admission, and I can say that students’ welfare was not considered when the management is making the decision because the proposed increment is ill-timed and should not be implemented.”

A student who did not want his name in print stated that the proposed fee was against the campaign promises of the State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

“We are happy that the management is working towards that development of the institution, but at the same, they should consider us and put themselves in our parents’ shoes. It was even SU president that pleaded that payment portal be reopened for the third time last session. Before the pandemic, some of us find it difficult to pay early, what of now that the current situation of the country is not favourable? The school is government-owned, why do they want to task the students? Can’t they ask the state government to fund the institution?” he asked rhetorically.

I paid the sum of N148,450 when I gained admission, N35,000 as acceptance fee and N50,300 for a room occupied by four students which is even compulsory for all students. The total amount I paid as a new student was N235,000. Non-indigenes are also paying nothing less. After all these the management still said they want to add another fee. Is all this not enough for them to manage the university? If it is not enough, they should ask the state government to fund us according to his promise before he got elected.

We Are Not Tasking Our Students – Management

When contacted the director of university relations, Abdulrasaq Sanni, also repositioned the stand of the school management on the news of the increment. He stated that the school has not increased the students’ school fee as circulated on social media, noting that the claimants quoted the university management wrongly.

He furthered that the university is burdened because it has not been properly funded by the state government.

No increment has been pronounced by the university management” he began “and the idea of exorbitant is relative. What you refer to as exorbitant might be relative. The fact remains that Kwara State University is a public school and for the school to run effectively, it needs a substantial amount of money for its running. On our own, we’re trying so much to up our IGR. And by it being a public school, we expect a high level of responsibility on the part of the government in ensuring that it is operated by a public school.”

In this regard, the State government last month said it spent about N1.592 billion to offset the arrears of salaries and subventions of tertiary institutions in the state. It also stated that it had constituted a 10-member visitation panel to examine every aspect of the Kwara state university, Malete. But Abdulrasaq claimed institution has not been receiving subventions from the state government.

‘If the school is not being properly funded, the onus falls on the school to find a way of getting enough fund to run the school. Students are not our target when it comes to running the school, in fact, they are the least on the ladder. The school has now put in place a very high-powered committee to look into our internally generated revenue and find a way of improving it.

And why we are doing all this is because subventions have not been coming and the school has to be run. It is in our search for funds to run the school that now brought the idea of involving the students on how we can come up with an ideal IGR for the school. It is a discussion in progress that has not been concluded. If any students should come out that school fees have been increased, the student is only quoting the management wrongly.”

We’re Committed to Our Promises

Speaking to this reporter, the State Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Sa’adatu Modibbo-Kawu, said, “There is no increment in their tuition fees for now. We have made it clear that there shouldn’t be any increment, not this session. For the subvention part, Kwara State University has been receiving other intervention. It is not like the university receives monthly subvention like some other institutions. The subvention that was recently released by the state government was for the arrears of lecturers of colleges of education in the state who were owed by the past administration.

“I’m not sure if there would be any reduction in their fee. I’m not aware of any plan to reduce their school.”

Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, while responding to this reporter reiterated the state government’s commitment to ensuring that the mandate reposed in him is not misplaced.

He, therefore, concluded that the state government would not entertain any increment from the university management as such would impose more hardship on the people. Questions on the claim that the university has not been receiving subvention from that state government were left unanswered, even when the reporter pressed further.

“The school, with due respect to its authorities, has since clarified that it is not jerking up tuition fee. That is quite reassuring! The attitude of the government is that any upward review in tuition fee at this time of global pandemic and slow economic recovery would impose more hardship on the people, and should therefore not be on the table at this time.

“The Governor is constantly mindful of his connection with and promise of ease to the people. He has remained true to that promise. Just recently he directed downward reviews of fees for a number of courses at the IVTEC just to ensure that as many young people as possible have access to skills that can fetch them decent living in the 21st century.”

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