2015 will be a tough year for University students in Kenya if the plan to impose a levy on universities starting in January. This will be passed on to the students by the Universities in addition to other charges. The additional charges by the CUE are to help to help finance the sector regulator’s quality assurance programmes.
Although CUE chairman Henry Thairu said the levy shall not be passed on to students, the poorly funded public universities and the commercially-oriented private ones say they have no choice but to pass on the cost. “The levy shall be paid by individual institutions,” said Thairu. The new levy is on a graduated scale based on the various categories of students and covers their entire stay at the universities. However, the management of the institutions have said they will pass on the cost to the students, hence the inevitable increase in fees.
CUE has already instructed universities to pay the levy for every student enrolled in their various degree and diploma programmes. At the moment, each institution pays CUE a one-off and modest Sh21,000 annually, a figure it says is too little.
The new charges were gazetted by the Commission last week. This will see the Universities pay an annual fee of Ksh. 1000 to the commission per an undergraduate student over the period the graduate will be enrolled at the institution. All universities will pay Sh1,500 for every master’s degree student and Sh2,000 per PhD student per year. Those offering postgraduate diploma programmes will pay Sh800 per student, annually.
The new charges will see universities like the University of Nairobi pay out over Ksh. 54 Million to CUE. This due to their high population of undergraduate students who are currently estimated to be about 54,000. JKUAT with their undergraduate population of 25,000 students will be paying approximately Ksh. 25 million.
If the plan is implemented, universities would pass on the cost to students. “Universities cannot pay money they do not have. This simply means they will pass this cost to students and it may make education a bit more expensive,” said a VC in one of the private universities.
Additionally, universities will be required to pay Sh810,000 in application charges for authority to collaborate per degree programme. CUE has also set the universities’ annual licensing charges for recruitment agencies at Sh100,000.