Students struggle as varsities revise tuition payment terms

Students from various public higher learning institutions in the country have appealed for a review of the new regulation which compels them to pay tuition fees before they register.
Students at the School of Finance and Banking check their marks on the notice board.  The New Times/ File.
Students at the School of Finance and Banking check their marks on the notice board. The New Times/ File.

Students from various public higher learning institutions in the country have appealed for a review of the new regulation which compels them to pay tuition fees before they register.

The majority of public institutions have asked students to make down payment of tuition fees before they can be allowed to register. The institutions slapped this policy on the back of the government revision of the fees payment structure under the poverty barometer classification (Ubudehe).

Students classified in category three and four are required to pay Rwf100,000 as part payment of tuition fees before registration while those classified in fifth and sixth category are required to pay Rwf200,000. The students are also required to pay Rwf50,000 registration fees.

The changes announced by the Ministry of Education in May come into force at the beginning of the new academic year next month.

With the new policy, around 75 per cent of varsity government sponsored students will pay half of their tuition fees and meet their own living costs.

It includes students from families that have been classified in categories 3 and 4 of the poverty level barometer of Ubudehe.

However, they will be able to meet the other half of tuition through the government study loans programme. Students under category 5 and 6, will not benefit from the tuition fees loans programme.

Living allowance loans for all the students except the poorest in category 1 and 2 of Ubudehe was also scrapped.


Pleas from students

The students are appealing for a review to allow them register before paying the mandatory tuition fees percentage.

“It is not easy to raise the tuition installment at time of registration; we are required to pay over Rwf150,000. I am worried; I may not beat the deadline as I have no money. We will eventually pay the tuition fees but we are not able to pay it at once with registration fees,” said a student from the National University of Rwanda (NUR) who only identified himself as Ndayishimiye.

The deadline for NUR registration is August 22.

Similar fears are echoed by students in other universities.

“I am worried; I failed to register on time due to financial constraints. My education is in balance because I’m not sure whether the university will extend the deadline,” another student who identified herself only as Diane, from the Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, ISAE Busogo said.

Busogo said he had raised Rwf50,000 for registration but failed to register because he didn’t have the mandatory tuition fees installment.

Another student from Kigali Health Institute (KHI), identified only as Uwizeyimana echoed similar concerns.

 “It has been difficult for me to get tuition and registration at the same time. I wonder why they insist on tuition yet nobody can register without a plan to pay tuition fee,” he said.

“I have not registered and I don’t know what next. If they don’t let us register, another option is to have a dead year,” said a student from Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (Kist) on condition of anonymity.

The registration deadline for KHI, ISAIE Busogo and Kist was yesterday.

Varsity officials speak out

University officials, contacted by this paper said they were only implementing the Education ministry policy.

“The registration process goes with payment of 1st tuition installment, it is the policy and we can’t change it,” Pascal Kiza, the in-charge of registration at ISAE Busogo said. 

However, when contacted, the National Council for Higher Education denied there was a policy barring students without tuition fees from registering.

Innocent Mugisha, the council executive director, it is false information.

“That information is not correct. We have never compelled Universities to do so,” Mugisha said.

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