Zimbabwe: Varsities Offer Flexible Tuition Payment Plans

17 February 2020

State universities have come up with payment plans and loan facilities for students, with fees ranging between $3 500 and $5 000 this semester.

Most State universities across the country have come up with flexible payment plans in response to an outcry by legislators, students, parents and guardians.

Last week, legislators from across the political divide took to task Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Minister, Professor Amon Murwira over the fees which they said were beyond the reach of ordinary Zimbabweans.

The legislators argued that the new fee structure had the effect of excluding some students as the majority of parents could hardly afford them.

Most universities are allowing students to pay 60 percent of their fees, with the remaining 40 percent expected to be cleared two weeks before examinations.

At the University of Zimbabwe, authorities were this week processing student loan forms.

The loans cover the full fees and have a flexible repayment plan.

University of Zimbabwe communications director, Mr Daniel Chihombori said: "We have one of the most flexible modes of payment where the moment a student is enrolled an account is created for him or her.

"One can pay any amount in that account for fees. Instead of waiting until the last minute to pay fees, we encourage students, parents and guardians to deposit whatever amount they would have raised into that account. The money is automatically credited.

"You can start paying for your next semester now by depositing money in the student account. Those who can afford can pay fees for the whole year or the whole duration of their stay at the university."

Mr Chihombori said the loan facility was availed by Government and some financial institutions.

"This facility is operative at all State universities and Government availed $50 million towards it," he said.

"The interest rates are reasonable, so students should take advantage of these facilities."

At Lupane State University's Bulawayo campus, a notice posted by the Registrar, Mr Jairos Makunde, reads: "Students are hereby kindly reminded to pay at least 60 percent of their fees and register by February 17, 2020, failure of which they will be barred from attending lectures."

The university is charging $5 100 for social sciences and commerce.

National University of Science and Technology (NUST) is charging $5 788 for commerce, $7 500 for medicine and $5 050 for engineering for their conventional undergraduate programmes.

Linda Ncube (22), a second-year student at NUST commended the institution's decision to implement a payment plan.

"I think the payment plan is much needed because my parents are already struggling with the pressure of having to pay bills and my younger siblings' school fees," she said.

NUST communication and marketing officer, Mrs Lindiwe Nyoni, urged students to approach the bursar's department and make payment plans.

"Registration will close on February 17. Students can also make use of the student loans available, such as the one offered by the Government."

Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) has urged parents and guardians to utilise the loan schemes.

CUT director of marketing and public relations, Mr Musekiwa Tapera, said tuition fees should be settled before the commencement of each semester.

"Government has arranged a loan scheme with banks to assist students who are finding it difficult to raise fees," he said.

"This facility is meant to mitigate against student drop-outs. Parents and guardians are advised to utilise this facility with the banks well in time so that there is no disruption of their studies."

Fees at CUT range between $5 000 and $10 000. CUT is opening on March 2 for returning students and it can accommodate 1 200 students on campus.

Mr Tapera said a robust system was put in place to cater for non-resident students.

"There is an off-campus directorate under the Division of Students Affairs which specifically looks after the students' welfare by facilitating boarding houses within the university's vicinity," he said.

Bindura University of Science Education public relations director, Mr James Gutura, said the institution always had a payment plan for fees.

Mutare Polytechnic principal, Ms Poniso Watema, said they did not offer payment plans.

"Those who fail to pay will not be able to get their results after finishing the course," she said. Mutare Polytechnic's tuition fees for national certificates students are pegged at $3 025 without accommodation and $6 990, including boarding and catering fees.

Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic has a payment plan for fees pegged at $6 700 for resident students and $3 175 for those non-resident.

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