Over a month has passed since Federal Government-owned institutions across Nigeria implemented a significant increase in fees for students, sparking outrage among parents and students alike. Despite subsequent denials by the government that the schools remain tuition-free, families are anxiously awaiting any sign of a reversal of the fee hike.
Rather than reverting to the previous fee structures, these institutions have introduced a series of measures aimed at assisting parents and students in coping with the financial strain. A closer look at the situation reveals a mix of responses from affected institutions.
For parents of students attending Federal Government’s Unity colleges, the fee adjustment has caused significant unrest. The Federal Ministry of Education had announced an increase from N45,000 to N100,000 in fees. However, no official communication has been issued regarding the matter, leaving parents uncertain about the future.
Femi Michael, a concerned parent from Ogun State, expressed his frustration over the lack of clarity, stating, “Given the silence from the Federal Ministry of Education, it appears unlikely that the new fee structure will be reversed. As the new academic session approaches in September, parents and guardians must prepare for these higher fees or seek alternatives for their children.”
The University of Lagos (UNILAG) has opted for a unique approach to address the fee hike. The institution, where fees soared from N19,000 to N190,250, has introduced a payment plan that allows students to pay their fees in installments. Additionally, UNILAG has encouraged students to seek sponsorship opportunities and has revitalized the work-study program to offer higher remuneration.
UNILAG’s measures also encompass scholarship opportunities, indigent student assistance, and a “Pay for Mentors Project” to support academically accomplished students. Furthermore, the university has established a partnership with the Lagos Bus Rapid Transport System to improve transportation for students.
Several other federal universities have extended registration and fee payment deadlines, acknowledging the financial challenges faced by families. The Bayero University Kano (BUK), for instance, extended its registration deadline to accommodate the economic difficulties being experienced across the nation.
BUK’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sagir Adamu, emphasized that the fee increase was necessary to maintain the quality of education provided by the university. He acknowledged the financial strain on families and revealed that the decision was made after careful consideration.
Meanwhile, despite the fee hike, the Federal Government maintains that its schools remain tuition-free. A statement from the Presidency, endorsed by the then Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications, and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, clarified that discretionary charges for hostel accommodation, registration, laboratories, and other services had been introduced by some universities. However, these charges, according to the statement, are distinct from tuition fees.
Despite the government’s stance, the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN) asserts that the fee hike indirectly increases the financial burden on parents and students. Chief Adeolu Ogunbanjo, Deputy National President of NAPTAN, called on President Bola Tinubu to intervene and halt the fee increase in public schools. He urged the government to consider the economic hardships faced by families and to prioritize affordable education.
As the debate surrounding the fee hike continues, parents and students await further developments, hoping for a resolution that balances the need for quality education with the financial realities of Nigerian families.