UI Fee Hike: The Untold Story of Newly Admitted Students


Lawal Maruf

As the clock ticks towards the physical resumption of fresh students in the 2023/2024 academic session, Bello Maryam, who has been offered admission to study Microbiology at the University of Ibadan, has yet to inform her parents about the increment in the school fee. Despite her parent’s insistence to know about the school fee, She still ponders on the best approach to present it to them because the reality outweighs her expectations.

“I don’t know how to tell my parents about it and I felt guilty when I heard about the increment in the school fee. Although,they won’t stop asking me about the amount we’re going to pay. I thought it would be at the range where it would be affordable.” Says Maryam, fixing her gaze on the screen of her laptop amid a gust of emotions.

Maryam is the third child in a family of eight. Her immediate sister is also a third year student of University of Ibadan, Distance Learning Centre. Asides, her parents also shoulder the responsibility of sponsoring secondary school education of her  two siblings, which underscores the complexity of her situation.

Due to the financial burden on her parents, She is being cautious to raise the alarm because there is a process adopted in her household, so that she and her siblings did not end up asking for their school fee at the same time.

Whenever we want to ask for school fees, we use to plan it so that we don’t end up asking at the same time.” She said.

On the 10th of April, 2024, the management of University of Ibadan announced the opening of the payment portal for the newly admitted students for the 2023/2024 academic session. However, this was not without the increment in the fee payment, leading to torrents of reactions from the fresh students, returning students and the students’ representative bodies.

Prior to the increment in the fee, the amount of bundle fee to be paid  by new students ranged from #20,000 to #30,000. But now, the amount has spiked up, new students will have to pay #133,500 to #372,500, depending on the department and faculty, which represent 450% to 750% increment from the previous fee.

With this introduction of the increment in fee payment, it has sparked a lot of debates in the students’ quarters, begging the rationality behind the increment as it is believed that UI is a federal owned tertiary institution.

For some students, the hike in the fee payment cast a doubt on the feasibility of furthering their education. While for others, there is no assurance whether their parents and guardians have the financial buoyancy to foot the bills, considering the ailing state of the economy occasioned by inflation, devaluation of Naira and economic downturn in the country.

Murthadoh Muhammed and his elder brother were bubbling with excitement when they were  offered admission to study Sociology and MBBS respectively, in University of Ibadan, at the same time. However, their excitement did not linger for so long when they heard about the increment in school fee.” It is not encouraging at all, considering the cost of things in the country”. Says Murthadoh, dropping his head in deep thought.

When Murthadoh logged in to his portal for fee payment, he is expected to pay #174,500. while  his brother is going to pay #372,500 as their bundle fees. Apart from the payment of bundle fee, they are going to pay #40,000 each for utility and technology fees, bringing the total amount to be paid by each person to #214,00 and #412,000, respectively.

He believed that with the nature of the business his parents operate, which he prefers not to disclose, they cannot afford the payment of that huge amount of money. Adding that, apart from the basic fees, they still have to pay for accommodation, registration at the faculty and department, and there are some of their personal needs that need to be met.

My parents are into business and I don’t think they can afford to pay that huge amount. Not only that, we still have to pay for hostel, department and faculty registration, and they would also want to get some things for us”.

While he is filled with hope that the school management would bring down the fee to an affordable rate, he is also scared that he might lose his bid to pursue his university education, when he noted that “My parent might want to  suggest that I wait behind for my elder brother if the situation remains the same.” A decision that would dampen his morale and destabilize his focus, because he believes that if he does not start now, his determination will thin out over time.

I will quit or defer the admission

Jamih Abdulhameed was offered admission to study Law in UI, his exceptional brilliance during his secondary school earned him a scholarship from a non-governmental organization to proceed for tertiary education. On completion of his secondary school education, he emerged as the student with the Best WAEC result, Best NECO result, and Best JAMB result. In addition to the scholarship grant, he was employed to work as a clerical staff for the NGO.

However, as clouds of disaster begin to gather, things begin to fall apart, and the scholarship grant was truncated abruptly when the laptop given to him to carry out clerical duties was stolen, leaving the NGO to question his level of trust. No amount of evidence provided was enough to prove the genuineness of the tragedy that struck him. All his explanations fell on deaf ears.

“I was given a scholarship for my tertiary education and I also worked as a clerical staff. But it came to an end when the laptop of the company was stolen and the scholarship was terminated”. Jamih says, as his voice sinks low.

To sort out himself, he had embarked on a self-sponsored journey for his university education, Jayeola applied to work as a tutor because his parents cannot afford to pay even half of the increment fee. Yet, his salary looks frail and malnourished when compared with #134,500 he is expected to pay as the bundle fees as a Law student.

Although he perceives the rays  of light at the end of the tunnel,“ I have reached out to the alumni body of my secondary school where I finished from and they have promised to support me”. 

Nonetheless, he noted that “ If I’m unable to get help, I will quit or defer the admission and I will go and learn a skill”. Adding that, he will have to walk up to people so as to seek financial support.

UI SU rejects the increment

Amid the heated debates of the fee increment, the student representative body facilitated meetings with the students and the school management.

On the 11th of April, 2024, University of Ibadan Students’ Union made their stance known to the management, rejecting the fee hike in a written statement signed by the former SU president, Tobiloba Samson, and the former general secretary, Olaniyi Dolapo.

They requested that fees should be returned to the previous amount and payment and registration by the fresh students should be suspended, pending the  time the issue is being resolved with the university management.

This is coming at a period when several students are finding it hard to cope with the current fees regime and increased cost of living in the country.The union condemns the increment in strong terms, and requests that this proposed increment be reverted to the status quo.”

We are equally requesting for a meeting with the university management towards resolving the issue. Greatest fresher students, we are by this release requesting you to exercise patience while we work to resolve this.” The letter reads.

They also noted that there could be a “possible upward review of returning students fees”

Emergency meeting

On Thursday, 2nd of May, 2024, the students’  union converged in an emergency meeting with the students where they solicited students’ support regarding the strategies put in place by the union to drive home their demands.

According to the resolutions of the emergency meeting, the union urged the students to push the conversation beyond the walls of the university. They sought support from the students to extend the conversation to the outside world through their social media platforms.

The online campaign should be moved to twitter to ensure wider reach,and draw the attention if relevant stakeholders, and students are equally encouraged to engage the tweets and #tags.

Also, the union promised to reach out to alumni bodies for their intervention.

Meeting with the management failed

After the students’ union had met with the school Students’ Affairs Division and other principal officers of the university management, the meeting fixed with the school management to discuss the increment on the 6th of May 2024, where the Vice Chancellor, the three Deputy Vice Chancellor, The Registrar, Dean of Students, Bursar and other principal officers were in attendance, proved abortive.

The university management stood their ground and defended the increment, highlighting that there has been a reduction of funds from the federal government, the persistent inflation, the high electricity tariff and other factors.

The management in defense of the increment cited the reduction in funding by the federal government, recent inflation in the country, the high cost of electricity, among others as reasons for the increment.”

Consultation continues

Before the Host-led administration bows out of office, efforts made to get the fee hike reversed met a brick wall.Nonetheless, the responsibility now rests on the shoulder of the newly inaugurated UI’SU executives led by Aweda Bolaji, to continue the ongoing consultation with the concerned stakeholders and the school management.

A week after the new students’ union executive have been sworn in, they made a first release “UI SU realease 001”,  signed by the President, Aweda Bolaji, and the General Secretary, Ogundijo Japheth on Monday 20th May, 2024, where it was noted that the hike in school fee ranks the highest of the issues bequeathed to them by the past administration, prompting the new set of students’ leaders to hit the ground running.

It’s been one week since we assumed leadership of the Students Union. In this short time, we’ve been working hard to address the challenges Uites face, especially concerning school fees.

From the moment we took office, our days have been filled with back-to-back meetings and discussions. We have been tirelessly engaging with various stakeholders, both within and outside the university, to understand the issues thoroughly and work towards effective solutions. 

Our priority has been to ensure that every voice is heard and that every concern is addressed.”

One of the most pressing issues we inherited is the matter of school fees. We understand the significant stress and uncertainty this issue has caused among students and their families. 

Recognizing the urgency, we swung into action immediately. Over the past week, we have been in continuous consultations with key individuals and stakeholders to find a feasible way forward.”

While the consultation continues with the school managementand there is need to douse the rising tension, the newly admitted students have been advised to put a halt to fee payments.

We urge all students, especially Freshers, to hold off on fee payments until we have a resolution.”

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