19,000 Makerere students fail to beat tuition fee deadline


KAMPALA– More than 19,000 Makerere University students have failed to beat the fee payment deadline as demanded by the new tuition policy.

The tuition policy demands that students clear their fees by the 12th week of the semester, which deadline elapsed on Monday. But students who missed the Monday deadline are permitted to complete payment by the 15th week of the semester with a surcharge of five per cent on the outstanding balance.

The three additional weeks for students who missed last Monday’s deadline will expire on February 6, a week after the start of end of semester exams, which commence on January 29.

The university deputy vice chancellor for finance and administration, Prof Bernabas Nawangwe, said only about 19,000 of the 39,000 students had cleared tuition by the Monday deadline. About 9,500 students had paid part of the tuition while the rest had not paid a coin to the university.

But Prof Nawangwe said there could be students who have paid their tuition but their data is not reflected in the university system. He said the university is owed Shs7.8b by students.

Prof Nawangwe said the university has so far collected Shs39b of Shs60b expected before the end of the semester. Before the university was ordered to close by President Museveni on November 1 last year over the lecturers’ strike, Makerere had collected Shs18.3b of Shs23.4b they had projected to collect in fees.

Students warned
Since re-opening on January 2, the university has been issuing statements warning that students who don’t clear the fees will not be allowed to sit for end of semester exams. The university vice chancellor, Prof Ddumba-Ssentamu, has insisted management won’t change its position on the matter.

“We are adding 5 per cent surcharge on the fees balance. For instance, if you have Shs1m balance, you add onto it Shs50,000. If you don’t pay that money before exams, you miss,” Prof Ddumba said.
He said the students clearing the fees now after missing deadline won’t be allowed to sit the exams if they don’t pay the 5 per cent surcharge. The tuition policy also gives students who can’t clear tuition another chance to individually write to the vice chancellor explaining the cause and stating when they expect to clear the balance.

The vice chancellor has the liberty to allow them sit the end of year exams or reject the student’s explanation.

Prof Ddumba said he will only consider students plea when the 15th week deadline elapses.

Mr Roy Ssemboga, the students’ guild boss, refused to comment but last week, he implored students who missed the Monday deadline to use the added three weeks window to pay up the dues.
Mr James Omoding, a student, said on Wednesday he had not paid the 5 per cent surcharge and will only pay when the university management declines to give him an examination permit, a prerequisite for sitting exams.

The tuition fee policy also requires students to register with the university’s online system and those who fail to register “are charged a late registration fee as may be determined by the University Council.”

Prof Nawangwe said more than 9,000 students have not registered, with nearly 7,000 of them being first year students whose data have gone through manual registration at their respective colleges.

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