Hundreds of private students at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB) risk being discontinued after the university administration gave a short deadline to pay part of the tuition and registration fees.
Parents equally fear that their children’s academic future hangs in balance since they cannot raise the tuition which was increased by over 36 percent. SFB has over 1,200 private students.
SFB announced on December 23 that private students have to pay part of the tuition and registration fees by January 7 or would not be allowed to take classes when the new academic year begins on Monday.
The new terms which have upset students and parents state that for private students to register, they have to pay at least Rwf200,000 tuition fees, a registration fee of Rwf21,000 and Rwf55,000 for those who have papers to re-sit.
The new fee structure states that private students now pay a total of Rwf550,000 in tuitions fees up from the initial Rwf350,000 for part time students in addition to paying a registration fee of Rwf21,000.
“We really think that these new conditions are very unfair. They have not only come at short notice, but we also think that the deadline was set at the wrong time. If you deduct the festive days and weekends, you notice that we had only about 5 days to pay all this money.”
“We are now made to believe that the administration is just intending to discontinue most of us who might not raise this money on time,” said the head of the group of students that visited The New Times, but preferred anonymity.
The students are now threatening to take their concerns to the Ministry of Education and have accused student leaders of not addressing their concerns before management.
Efforts to contact the Guild President and the student representative on the Senate Committee were futile as they all claimed to be holed-up in a meeting with the university administration.
When contacted, the Vice Rector in charge of Academics, Papius Marimba, who is also the acting Rector, said that he could not speak as he was in a meeting. Rogers Muragije, Vice Rector in charge of Finance said he could also not speak.
When contacted, Prof. Nshuti Manasseh, SFB Board Chairman, said that the issue is an administrative concern but added that the institution badly needs the funds to operate.
“The University is opening next week and the students know that you cannot run an institution without funds. We have expatriates who teach at the university and who need to be paid and many other administrative costs.”
“We have a big gap of funds which needs to be addressed immediately and we realised that if all students paid their tuition early, this gap would be filled. All universities set deadlines which have to be met if things have to move smoothly,” Nshuti said.
He dispelled rumours that the institution was undertaking massive expulsions - including those that don’t perform well academically - in a desperate bid to cut down on the large number of students who are overwhelming the infrastructural facilities at the school.
“That is not true. Suppose all of them paid their tuition on time and passed their exams, would they still be discontinued? Some of these students totally fail and I don’t know any university in the world that awards someone a degree for failing,” Nshuti observed.
He accused some private students of putting their jobs and businesses ahead of academics and at the end of the day fail.
“Some go on their personal errands in Dubai and only get back during exams and when they fail, they are the ones who make a lot of noise. We will not be compromised on this,” Nshuti said.
He said that the university is addressing the problem of infrastructure with two 4-storey and 7-storey buildings with much bigger halls and lecture theatres. One of the buildings is expected to be ready by the end of the year.