In an effort to assure financial stability for the institutions that are struggling to provide services, the government and vice chancellors of public universities are considering tripling tuition.
If the proposal is approved, universities want to increase tuition from the existing cost of Sh 16, 000 per semester to Sh 48, 000 beginning in the middle of the next year.
At a meeting on September 23 that included senior managers from all public universities and top Ministry of Education officials, the suggestion gathered traction.
Due to mismanagement, decreasing State support, and rapid development amid a decline in student enrollment, public universities have experienced financial hardship in recent years.
According to a ministry of education internal report, raising tuition fees is one of the urgently needed steps to maintain the financial stability of higher education institutions.
The government discontinued its free university education program in 1991 and replaced it with the Higher Education Loans Board’s student loan program, which set the Sh 16, 000 charge (HELB).
The call for a revision of the fees coincides with a substantial decline in university enrollment in self-sponsored programs as a result of the government’s decision to completely pay KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education) exam pupils who received the required C+ grade.
In the past, universities generated billions of shillings from the courses offered in parallel degree programs.
Cost university courses
“Students should pay reasonable tuition costs. Therefore, evaluate the Sh16,000 in tuition that has been owed since 1992,” the vice-chancellors’ resolution states.
The State and University Funding Board (UFB), which is mandated to expense university courses and fees anew, has since been submitted the VCs’ request for approval.
Universities currently charge a yearly price of Sh 26, 000, of which Sh 16, 000 goes toward tuition and the remaining amount is made up of registration, amenity, medical, and activity fees. Students pay Sh 8000 of the Sh 16, 000, with HELB expected to cover the remaining Sh 6, 000.
Dr. Charles Mukhwaya, the secretary general of the Kenya Universities Students Union (KUSU), claims that the government has fallen short of its financing commitment.
The government has been giving schools appropriations based on the number of undergraduate students they enroll in the state-funded regular program and the kind of courses they take, rather than financing each student up to 80% as was agreed upon under the Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) model whereas schools are given money based on the number of undergraduate students they enrol for the state-funded regular program and the kind of courses they take, it has only been granting up to 46%, leaving a deficit of 34%.
Liberal arts courses receive less funding under DUC than specialized degrees like engineering and medicine. Prior to the DUC, each academic program received a set payment of Sh120,000 per student, each year. “Universities are being compelled to pay the deficit that the government is not covering. According to Dr. Mukhwaya, the state must enhance funding to universities to ensure their financial stability.
The government should subsidize some students through public universities rather than continuing to support them through private institutions, according to Dr. Mukhwaya’s proposal.
For the benefit of the institutions’ finances, he contends that all of the government-funded students now enrolled in private universities need to be readmitted.