Fee increases are justified, says UG management

Fee increases 

The University of Ghana has defended the increase in academic user fees it would be charging for the upcoming academic year starting in January 2023.

The school’s administration claims that the “fees charged for the academic year 2022-2023 are legal and properly based on approved fee levels as permitted by Parliament.”

This follows complaints from certain students that the increase’s margin is intolerable because it exceeds the 15% approval granted by Parliament through the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC).

The University of Ghana has modified prices for the 2022–2023 academic year upward by 15% based on the gazetted approved costs for the 2019–2020 academic year, university authorities stressed in a statement.

GTEC ordered tertiary schools to increase prices for the upcoming academic year in all public universities by a maximum of 15% for the 2022–2023 academic year a few weeks ago.

However, there are claims that certain public tertiary schools are only charging around half the prices as they do now.

The University Students’ Association of Ghana (USAG) has already opposed and called callous any attempts to ignore the Parliamentary directive. Here is the complete rationale from UG management.

ADJUSTMENTS IN ACADEMIC FACILITY USER FEES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GHANA

The University of Ghana finds it necessary to set the records straight and to correct false information being circulated about adjustments of Academic Facility User Fees by the University for the 2022/2023 academic year. The adjustment of fees by the University is based on rates approved by Parliament and communicated through the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC). For the sake of clarity and to ensure that our students and stakeholders are not misled, we wish to explain that:

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1. In the 2019/2020 academic year, public universities, including the University of Ghana, were given approval by Parliament to increase their fees by 5% cumulatively based on the 2016/2017 approved fees. On 27th January, 2020, the University received the approved and gazetted fees (Ref. RMERD/NTPU/12/19/MDAS/FEES/5) from the Ministry of Finance through the then National Commission of Tertiary Education (NCTE). This was in the second semester of the 2019/2020 academic year, after the University had already announced fees for that academic year. By this time, it was too late for the University to implement the new fees.

2. Though the gazetted approved fees for 2019/2020 academic year were found to be higher than what the University had earlier requested students to pay for the academic year, University Management decided to suspend the implementation of the new fees until the 2020/2021 academic year. This was to spare students from a fee increase in the middle of the 2019/2020 academic year.

3. With the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, coupled with its associated challenges, Management accepted a plea from the student leadership (SRC and GRASAG) to further suspend the implementation of the parliamentary approved and gazetted fees until the 2021/2022 academic year.

4. In effect, therefore, the University of Ghana charged students subsidized fees for the 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 academic years, rather than the approved rates.

5. Following all the necessary internal consultations and approval by the University Council, on 13th December, 2022, the University announced that due to the increasing cost of operations, it had become necessary for the University to implement the 2019/2020 approved fees. The statement also noted that the fee schedules published at the time were provisional, and that amounts to be paid would be updated once fees for the 2022/2023 academic year were approved by Parliament.

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6. On 21st December, 2022, the University received a letter from GTEC dated 16th December, 2022, communicating that Parliament had approved an upward review of academic fees by “…15% of the last approved rates”.

7. It is important to note that the only previously approved fees were those gazetted in 2019/2020 (Ref. RMERD/NTPU/12/19/MDAS/FEES/5) and not the subsidized rates the University had to implement due, initially, to the late timing of the fee announcement in January 2020, and later by concessions made due to COVID and pleas from student leadership.

8. In line with this, the University of Ghana has adjusted fees for the 2022/2023 academic year upwards by 15% based on the gazetted approved fees for the 2019/2020 academic year. Management therefore assures students, parents and all stakeholders that fees charged for the 2022/2023 academic year are legal and duly based on approved fee levels as authorized by Parliament.

The University recognizes the current difficult economic situation in the country, and as such has provided for flexible fee payment terms for students. For example, students are allowed to register for the first semester upon payment of 50% of their academic facility user fees, with the remaining amount due in the second semester. Additionally, students with genuine financial difficulties are encouraged to apply to access support through the University’s Students Financial Aid Office.

Management operates an open-door policy and has engaged student leadership on these issues. We will continue to dialogue with student leaders, the general student body, parents and guardians and all stakeholders for a better understanding and appreciation of all matters that concern the welfare of stakeholders of the University.

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