LOCAL universities have announced their new fee structures which will see students paying between $5 000 and $9 000 per semester depending on their programmes.

The National University of Science and Technology (Nust) was one of the first institutions to make public its new fees.

According to information obtained from the institution’s website www.nust.ac.zw, students in the Faculty of Communication and Information Science will pay total fees of $5 120; Faculties of Engineering and Built Environment $5 250; Faculty of Commerce $5 788; Faculties of Science and Technology Education and Applied Sciences will pay $6 500; and Faculty of Medicine $7 500.

The University of Zimbabwe fee structure shows that students in the Faculty of Arts would pay $5 310 while those studying medicine will pay $8 755.

nust communication and marketing officer Mrs Lindiwe Nyoni said the university’s fees were above board.

“The tuition fees that our students are supposed to pay are capped at $5 000 in line with Government’s directive. But what makes the total fees exceed the $5 000 caps are the levies that take into account processes that make it possible to run certain programmes. Each programme or faculty have certain levies that are charged to ensure it’s smooth running for the benefit of the students as well as the effective running of the university,” said Mrs Nyoni.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said while tuition fees remain capped below $5 000, institutions were allowed to charge operational levies.

“The levies are a must. Technology levy and other things are necessary but what we control as Government is the tuition,” said Prof Murwira.

He said universities have to be productive which in turn will reduce costs including accommodation.

“We cannot determine how much accommodation fees cost when we do not own it. As we say we want more productivity at universities. For example, last year the University of Zimbabwe did not increase fees, you know why? Because they have a very productive farm at seven tonnes per hectare and milling company which mills mealie-meal. So, it means their prices were moderate. So that is what we are trying to encourage all other universities so that we don’t have too high prices for accommodation,” he said.

nust students’ representative council president Innocent Dombo said the new fees were too high for students considering that their parents and guardians were not earning that much.

“While the Minister engaged the Vice Chancellors in coming up with the new fees structure, we feel he forgot the important stakeholder which is the students’ body. We did not have our input yet the issues were mostly pertaining to us. Importantly, the new fees are just too high. We thought that everything was going to be capped under $5 000 but we are now getting that the cap was just for tuition and total fees are as high as $8 000 in some instances,” said Dombo.

He said already students are fretting over accommodation fees that are charged in foreign currency in Bulawayo.

Government has availed a $90 million students loan facility as it aims to ensure higher and tertiary education is accessible to all.

-Chronicles

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