Private Campuses Hike Fees For Government Students

    Daystar University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Laban Ayiro.

    Private universities have started raising their tuition fees for government-sponsored students they house, putting them at odds with the Ministry of Education.

    Fee increases of up to Sh20,000 per semester have been implemented by institutions like the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) and Daystar University for incoming freshmen in September.

    The fee increase was confirmed on Friday by sources who are not authorized to speak to the press but work in the admissions and finance departments of CUEA and Daystar University.

    The action appears to set off a conflict with the ministry, which ruled that the raises were illegal because there had been insufficient consultations.

    Daystar University increased fees by an average of Sh17,000 for government-sponsored students who reported in September, while students who enroll in CUEA will pay up to Sh20,000 more depending on the degree program.

    Depending on the course they are pursuing, government sponsorship of at least Sh70,000 per year is provided to students who choose to enroll in private universities.

    Private universities and colleges, who for years had complained that the admissions agency had denied them the chance to attract top students to their institutions, were anticipating a big win from the change.

    “They are not supposed to increase the fees, it is against the agreement signed years ago when placement of government-sponsored students in private universities started,” Education Principal Secretary Simon Nabukwesi said in a response to Business Daily.

    “Let affected students write to us then we pick it up because this (increment) is an illegality.”

    The government set the tuition for students who are sponsored by the government at Sh16,000, which is what it costs to attend a public university. The private universities have enrolled 47,548 students since 2016 when the system was introduced.

    Students enrolling in undergraduate law programs at CUEA will pay Sh46,000 per semester, up from Sh24,500, while those enrolling in education and business programs will pay Sh39,500, up from Sh24,500.

    In accordance with the plan, the government covers more than half of the cost per unit, leaving universities, parents, and students to cover the remaining expenses.

    In order to relieve the overcrowding in public higher education institutions, government-sponsored students are enrolled in private universities.

    The increases are expected to put even more pressure on households already struggling to make ends meet due to rising living expenses as they attempt to recover from the economic collapse brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.