War at Adekunle Varsity as Students allegedly school management increase tuition fees

Following the 2017/2018 increment in tuition fees by the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), the university management has announced another review through the school’s edu portal.

According to CAMPUSLIFE gathered that students, who logged into the portal for the 2018/2019 session, especially the final year and 200 Level students, noticed that the payment invoice did not change despite their being on a new level, which sparked reactions.

Last year, AAUA tuition fee was increased across all faculties by Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, the Visitor to the institution. The fees were as follows: New Students of Faculty of Arts and Education paid N100,000; 200-Level and 300-Level, N80,000. New students in the Faculties of Social and Management Sciences, Agriculture, Sciences and Law paid N150,000; while 200-Level and 300-Level paid N100,000. All final year students paid N70,000.

However for this session, CAMPUSLIFE learnt that rather than the returning students paying less according to their levels as expected, they are to pay the same amount they paid last session.

By implication of the directive to students to maintain status quo, 200-Level students of Faculty of Arts and Education will now pay N100,000 as against N80,000; 300-Level will maintain their N80,000, while final year students of same faculty would pay N80,000 instead of N70,000.

Students of the Faculty of Sciences, Social and Management Sciences, Law and Agriculture in 200-Level will pay N150,000 instead of N100,000; 400-Level (and 500L in some five-year courses) will pay N100,000 instead of N70,000 for final year.  Newly-admitted students will pay N150,000.

This indirect increment is causing disagreement between the management and students’ union.

The students’ union under the leadership of Comrade Adesomoju Samuel (Sampraise), has warned students not rush to pay such fee until the issue is resolved.

In a statement jointly signed by the General Secretary of the union, Comrade Adebayo Jesutola (Tolajay) and Senate President Adebowale Temitope (Don Richy), the union asked the “students to exercise patience as regards the payment of tuition fees for the new session”.

The statement reads: “This is in connection with the recent review of fees payable by students across all faculties and academic levels as made public by the university management on our different accounts within the edu-portal.

“We make to say it boldly that no student should pay the tuition fee for now, not until all issues have been resolved.

“We urge the students to await further instructions, which will be relayed subsequently by the union as events unfold.”

The school has, however, denied increasing the fees.  In a rejoinder, the Registrar, Dr. M. S. Ayeerun, described the news of fee hike on the social media as rumour.  He noted that the students were only required to pay the amount they paid last year.

“The university is hereby using this medium to inform our highly esteemed students, parents, guardians and the public that it did not increase or propose to increase its fees.

“In other words, the school fees regime for last academic session (2017/2018) still subsists in 2018/2019 academic session. As such, students are to pay the fees they paid last academic session for the 2018/2019 academic session,” the registrar said.

While the students’ union asked students not to pay the tuition fee, the university management has directed that all online registration, including payment of tuition fee, must be done before resumption.

“Meanwhile, fresh and returning students are required to start and complete their online registration before resumption. All students are, therefore, advised to commence their online registration and payment of school fee,” Ayeerun said.

However, the resumption date was not stipulated.

Ayeerun noted in a circular that “the resumption date for the 2018/2019 session will be announced later.”

Some students that spoke to CAMPUSLIFE were not happy. They said the new review was like a silent way of increasing the fees and should not be accepted.

One of them, Aluko Dorcas, said the increment might force her to drop out.

“The tuition fee review is really an avenue to aggravate our agony as students. Up till this moment, I have not got the courage to tell my widowed mother about the review without her contemplating my drop out. I feel the school management could have treated us better but they choose the opposite which seems like telling us to neglect education,” she said.

Director of Campus Affairs for National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Oyedokun Isreal said changing the schedule of fee payment was increment.

“It is an increment. In every institution, there is scheduled fee for all levels.  In AAUA, what is applicable is reduction in the tuition fee when moving from 100-Level to 200-Level and when in final year. To bring the policy of pay what you paid last session is tampering with the tuition fee systematically,” he said.

Another student, Jemilugba Ifeloluwa, lamented that the fee hike was against Governor Akeredolu’s campaign promise.

“It is an increment, when SUG is saying no increment, school is saying they should write letter. Why will they write letter if there is no increment? When Governor Akeredolu was contesting, he made a promise to the students not to increase fees and within a year in office, he did – from N35,000 to N150,000. Where do they expect our parents to see this money? I have mates that had to leave school last year because of the hike. I wonder what will happen this year. The new tuition fee is painful because we are falling victims a second time.”

On his part, Anjorin Philip faulted the former leadership of the Students Union led by Ijanusi Olawale for conceding to the increment last year, which he believes gave room for the present increment.

“The moment Optimum (Ex SUG President) allowed it to N150,000, I knew it was a matter of time; it might increase. The management think they will confuse us by saying we are paying what we paid last session and our portal is saying something else,” he said.

However, Adekun Ayo-Lawrence ‘D Gr8’, who was the General Secretary of the SUG EXCO led by Ijanusi, said they were c                                                                                                                         ompelled to agree with the government on the fee hike.

Lawrence said Ijanusi did not sign any document for the fees to be reviewed.

He said: “(our administration) needs to clearly state that as part of our agitations at the inception of the hike in tuition fee, we never succumbed to any form of increment until fate had us coerced to this quagmire situation Nigerian students are finding themselves.”

He added that they were “surprised that OPTIMUM-led administration has been branded to have signed a deal in which in two years’ time all students will be paying N150,000 or more”, adding that any “attempt to drag our names into mud will not be taken lightly as we might be left with no option than to take legal action.”

He said that in virtually all institutions, final year students paid less tuition fees than other levels.

Gbemisola Adesola described  it as a betrayal, saying there was no new development in the school to justify the increment.

“It saddened my heart when I heard about the new fee. Many are still struggling to pay for last session. All I see is that they actually played on our intelligence.  If they had told us it will be like this, majority of the previous freshers would not have resumed.   Most of us resumed with the hope that we would pay lesser amount the following year. The thing is with that huge amount we paid last session, there is still no new development in the school or in Akungba itself. Will this continue till when poor people will not afford to go to school?”

In his own view, Adepoju Williams said the new arrangement was not an increment but the fees should have been left the way it was.

He said: “The New Fee is not an increment according to the school but maintaining the status quo. It is actually right. But the question is, why should 200-Level pay the same tuition fee with 100-Level? Why should finalist pay the same tuition fee with 300-Level? It is often believed that the higher you go, the lower the fee. Why should it be different in AAUA?”

At a meeting summoned by the SUG penultimate Saturday, the students in attendance argued in favour of decreasing fees as they progress through the school.

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Funke Azeez

Funke Azeez, an indigene of Abeokuta, Ogun State. She studied Mass Communication at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State. Contact: [email protected]

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