Nigeria: Parents, Students Lament High 'Acceptance Fee' in Public Varsities

21 January 2020

Ilorin, Benin, Osogbo, Lokoja, Calabar, Gombe, Minna, Enugu, Kano, Katsina, Awka, Makurdi, Owerri, Abeokuta, Bauchi, Damaturu, Jalingo, Lagos, Jos, Abuja — Parents and some newly admitted students have decried multiple charges by public universities in the country, payment of high 'acceptance fees' alongside other moneys demanded during registration.

Daily Trust reports that many federal and state universities charge over N50,000 from each prospective student as acceptance fee prior to "screening" that will pave way for the student to register.

In some universities, the money paid for registration is between N35,000 and N40,000. This is besides what they pay as registration which comes with different subheadings.

Officials in some universities said acceptance fee is meant to confirm that prospective students have accepted the admission offered them and are willing to proceed with registration and other procedures.

Others said it is to beef up revenue to meet obligations that could not be covered by allocations from the federal government.

Out of the 21 universities sampled from across the six geopolitical zones, only a few collect N10,000 or less as acceptance fee.

However, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi and Federal University Kashere in Gombe State do not collect acceptance fee as students offered admission only passed through screening with their credentials and thereafter pay registration fees.

Various laws establishing federal universities in Nigeria indicate that they are tuition-free for citizens. However, such institutions collect tuition from foreign students in addition to other charges.

Besides acceptance fee, some universities ask students to pay admission processing fee, ICT fee, faculty/departmental levy, late registration and municipal fees.

Janet, who was admitted by the University of Calabar (UNICAL), said her father had pleaded to pay the fees in instalments but that was accepted on the grounds that she must first pay acceptance fee before any other payment.

Janet, who succeeded in scaling through after much struggle to meet the financial obligation, said, "My father is a civil servant on Grade Level 8; before the registration proper, he was asked to pay N15,000 as my acceptance fee and N1, 500 for processing the admission," she said.

"He has been struggling to take care of my elder brother who is also in the university and here I am too," she said.

Apart from the acceptance fee, fresh students admitted to read sciences at UNICAL pay N35,250 during registration. Non-science students pay N34,250, while MBBS and nursing students pay N42,750.

Analysis by Daily Trust showed that universities in the southern part of the country charge higher in the name of acceptance fee when compared with their counterparts in the north.

Uniben collects up to N80,000 as acceptance fee

Newly admitted students at the Departments of Education and Library and Information Science of the University of Benin (Uniben) said they paid N60,000 each as acceptance fees during the 2019/2020 academic session. Students admitted to study sciences paid N80,000.

Other fresh students in the Dentistry and Nursing departments said they paid N70,000 each as acceptance fees. The students called on the federal government to abolish such charges, saying many prospective students who secured admission were denied the chance to study because they could not pay the acceptance fee. For those who paid the acceptance, science students went ahead and paid N73,400 as "registration fees" while non-science students paid N69, 900.

The university's spokesman, Michael Osasuyi, was said to be absent when our reporter visited his office and did not respond to text messages sent to him.

Umudike hikes acceptance fee by 150%

At the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike in Abia State, the acceptance fee reportedly rose from N20,000 in 2015 to N50,500 in 2019.

About 4,013 students admitted by the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) in Ogun State, paid N31,500 each as acceptance fee. The spokeswoman of the institution, Mrs Linda Onwuka, said she could not confirm the amount being charged "but I am aware the monies are being used for the students' welfare," she said.

Owerri: Federal varsity collects N42,000, state varsity N70,000

Authorities of the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) collected N42,000 as acceptance fees from fresh students during the 2018/2019 admission exercise.

A source at FUTO who spoke anonymously said the money is for administrative purposes. Imo State University (IMSU) on the other hand charged N70,000 as acceptance fees during the same period.

Azikiwe varsity collects N47,000

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka in Anambra State, newly admitted students paid N47,000 as acceptance fee and N4,800 for ICT. Some of the students interviewed said the fees being paid under different titles were too high while other students said the charges were reasonable.

A 100 level student of Department of Geological Sciences, Mr Victor Onu, said in addition to the acceptance fee, he paid N4,800 as ICT charge.

Mr Uche Chikodi, a newly admitted student in the Department of Music, said in addition to acceptance fee, students paid N90,000 as registration fee and N25,000 as faculty and departmental levies.

When contacted, the bursar of the university, Mrs Joy Ojukwu, refused to speak on the matter.

A 200 level student at the Enugu Campus of University of Nigeria (UNEC), who gave his name as Brayen, said "I paid N25,000 as acceptance fee and there is no change in the amount since the past three years.

Uniabuja jacks up acceptance fee by 300%

A female student at the University of Abuja (Uniabuja) said she paid N5, 000 as acceptance when she was admitted but that those who got admission recently paid N30,000.

She said, in addition, science students paid N42,000 during registration while non-science students paid N39,000.

Commenting, a 300 Level female student in the Faculty of Agriculture, said most public universities are facing financial pressure and that without additional sources of income, "it is unlikely that they will survive."

It's N25,000 at Unilorin

During the last admission, the University of Ilorin (Unilorin) collected N25, 000 as acceptance fees from each undergraduate student while some postgraduate students also claimed they paid the same amount.

The university admitted 10,000 students during the latest admission exercise.

A new student in the Department of English Language, University of Lagos, said he paid N20,000 as acceptance fee but his counterpart at the Department of Economics, University of Jos, said the actual money charged as acceptance fee was N25,000 but that she paid additional N10, 000 for late admission.

Also, a 200 Level student of the Department of Accounting, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, who was admitted through direct entry, said he paid N20,000 as acceptance fee.

The spokesman of the university, Mr Abiodun Olanrewaju, confirmed that OAU charges N20,000 as acceptance fee.

He said OAU admitted over 6,000 students yearly, and that the acceptance fee is used to augment what the school gets from the federal government in meeting the needs of the students. Mr Uket Maurice, whose two children are studying at UNICAL and Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH), said, "We pay as high as N25, 000 at UNICAL. After that, I am expected to pay school fees, buy books, handouts among others. I am not a businessman. I depend on my salary. Life is not easy with us because the government is also collecting all sorts of taxes. This acceptance fee is quite unnecessary. It should be reduced or scrapped totally."

Romoke W. Ahmad, Usman A. Bello, Hameed Oyegbade, Itodo Daniel Sule, Eyo Charles, Haruna Gimba Yaya, Ahmed Tahir, Tony Adibe, Tijjani Ibrahim, Habibu Umar Aminu, Titus Eleweke, Hope Abah Emmanuel, Jude Aguguo Owuamanam, Peter Moses, Hassan Ibrahim, Ibrahim Baba Saleh, Magaji Isa Hunkuyi, Christiana T. Alabi, Dickson S. Adama, Chidimma C. Okeke, Misbahu Bashir

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