Many institutions have increased their fees by 100 to 200 per cent, which may force some indigent students out of school.
Already, most federal and state universities have raised their fees, to cushion the effects of funding challenges in public institutions.
They justified the hike on poor government funding of tertiary education and rising inflation in the country, which shot up to 22.4 per cent, the highest in 17 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
So far, the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) University of Uyo (UNIUYO) University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) Federal University of Health Sciences, Azare (FUHSA) Federal University, Lafia (FULAFIA), Federal University, Dutse (FUD) Federal University, Kashere (FUKASHERE), University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) have all announced increments in their school fees and other sundry charges payable by students.
Others include Bayero University Kano (BUK), Niger Delta University (NDU), Nsukka, and National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), University of Ibadan (UI), Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, among others.
The development has begun to raise fear among parents and students, as stakeholders described it as an attempt to pile more economic woes on suffering Nigerians.
The management of the Federal University, Dutse, in a memo by the Deputy Registrar (Academics) Kamal Habib Muhammad, announced a 200 per cent increase in its fees. It said, however, that payments can be made in two installments and discounts will be given to staff members’ children.
From the old fees of N37,000, returning students have to pay N97,000 plus other sundry charges.
Also, UNIMAID, in a memo addressed to students, said due to rising costs of teaching and learning materials, as well as laboratory consumables and reagents brought about by market forces, students would now pay more. From N29, 830, it has skyrocketed to about N74, 000; registration fee at the university is N58, 000, while fees for medical students was hiked to a whopping sum of N252, 500 for new students, and N233, 000 for returning students. New students in the Faculty of Law will now pay N124, 500, while returning students will pay N105, 000, while the highest being medical college at N238, 000.
UNN has announced a 100 per cent 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 – N95, 000.
It was gathered that before the new development, old students in the institution paid a fee of N40, 000, and new students N83, 000.
At DELSU, for instance, angry parents wondered why the management would ask a student to pay N8, 000 for a laboratory coat; N7, 000 for an ID card, N7, 000 for verification of examination, course accreditation levy as if the courses were not accredited before they were admitted, caution fee, department material levy, and technology fee.
For NOUN students, undergraduates are expected to pay N55, 000 instead of N36, 000, minus courses and exam registration, Exam registration is N1,500, project fee N25, 000, while postgraduates pay between N35, 000 and N61, 000.
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.
Students’ accommodation per bed space is now N60, 000 from N20, 000, while the GST handbook sold to students at N1, 500 per copy was increased to N6, 500.
For Bayelsa State government- owned Niger Delta University (NDU), Amasoma, second year students of the Faculty of Nursing who paid N37, 000 as school fees last year would now pay N100, 000.
Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado Ekiti, medical students are to pay as much as N750, 000, while the least fee fixed was N200, 000.
University of Uyo (UNIUYO) is not left out, as it reportedly raised its charges from N48, 000 to N105, 000 for new students.
Students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, are to pay N55, 000 from N26, 000, returning students in the Arts and related faculties in UNIABUJA would be paying N82, 000, while their medical counterparts pay N225, 000.
New students would be paying between N85, 000 and over N100, 000 in the Arts faculties, while medical students would pay above N225, 000.
Students of the state-owned Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo State, recently staged a protest against the nearly 300 per cent increment in the school’s registration fees, which they said now makes some courses in the school more expensive than what is obtainable in some private universities. According to them, law students are now expected to pay as high as N741, 500 as against N185, 000 paid in the previous year.
Similarly, they said medical students are now expected to pay N638, 000 as against N216, 000 based on the new increment.
BUK had also announced an increase in central registration fees, administrative and hostel maintenance charges for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
According to the new school fees, students of Nursing would pay the highest among undergraduates with N220, 500 for fresh students, and N197, 500 for returning ones, followed by those of the Faculty of Clinical Sciences (MBBS) and Dentistry, who will now pay N170, 000 for new and N160, 000 for returning students. Students of education courses would pay between N137, 500 and N138, 500 for fresh students, while returning students will pay between N132, 500 and N138, 500 depending on their course.
The least in the category are students from Faculties of Arts and Islamic Studies, Law, Management Sciences and Social Sciences who will pay N97,000 as returning while fresh students will pay N105, 000. Students from Faculties of Computer Science, Communications, Earth and Environmental Sciences will also pay N100, 000 as returning while fresh students will pay N110, 000 respectively.
The University of Lagos (UNILAG) has increased fees for its undergraduate students from N20, 000 to N70, 000; UI from N25, 000 to N50, 000; Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) from N20, 000 to N68, 500; Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma from N55, 000 to ₦161,500 for returning students; Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli new students are to pay ₦201,815 from its initial N80,000, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai returning students are to pay ₦86,000; Imo State University, Owerri, has increased from N65,000 to ₦120,000 for its returning students; Kwara State University, Ilorin, from N85,000 to ₦200,000; fresh students at Edo State University, Uzairu, are to pay ₦378,500 from the old fees of N145,000, while University of Delta, Agbor and Dennis Osadebe University, Asaba,have increased fees to ₦170,000 and ₦185,000, from N65,000 and N70,000 respectively.
From indications, many institutions may follow suit as this seems to be the only feasible way for public universities to generate more funds.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed thatabout 133 million Nigerians – more than half of about 206 million population – live in multidimensional poverty.
The World Bank also noted that as many as four in 10 Nigerians live below the national poverty line.
Most students attend public universities, due largely to lower tuition fees.
According to a 2022 report by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), out of 1,854,288 students in tertiary institutions, 1,206,825 or 65 per cent are in federal universities, 544,936 or 29 per cent in state government-owned universities and 102,500 or six per cent in private universities.
Students, parents, stakeholders react
Already, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has rejected the fee hike, urging President Bola Tinubu to intervene before it degenerates into crisis in the nation’s institutions.
The students described the institutions as not only inconsiderate, but also insensitive. They argued that most of their colleagues who attend public universities are from financially disadvantaged homes and would not be able to afford such an increment.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has opposed the increase in school fees by the various institutions and called for urgent government intervention.
ASUU’s National President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, noted that the decision could put higher education out of reach for indigent students.
Osodeke also expressed concern over the alleged government’s systematic withdrawal from funding public universities through introduction of education loans, reminding that the introduction of education banks has been a complete failure in countries where it was implemented.
An educationist, Dr Tony Afegbai, said considering what Nigerians are going through presently, increasing fees in the nation’s universities at this time is ill-timed.
Afegbai noted that the increase could deny many students, particularly indigent ones from accessing tertiary education.
There are, however, those who felt that increasing tuition at this time is the only viable option if Nigeria must rescue tertiary education from total collapse. They maintained that there is no place in the world where university education is cheap or free.
A Vice Chancellor in one of the federal universities who pleaded anonymity, said while he empathises with parents and students on the increase considering the state of the economy, the institutions are also seriously challenged.
According to the VC, running universities is extremely expensive.
“Do you know that diesel alone gulps over 70 per cent of the subvention coming from the centre? Do you know how much it costs to pay salaries of academic and non-academic staff? Do you know how expensive it is to ensure security on campus, logistics and others? I think while there is the need for the federal government to have other ways of easing the pressure on parents, universities should also learn some lessons on how to diversify so that we can collectively salvage the situation,” he said.