Lagos, Nigeria- UNILAG Vice Chancellor Gives Reasons for Increase in Tuition Fees Amidst Students Protest
In a virtual press conference held on Saturday evening, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), revealed that the institution incurs an annual expenditure of N1.7 billion on electricity. She cited this substantial cost alongside mounting debts as key reasons behind the recent decision to increase tuition fees at the university. The announcement comes in the wake of widespread student protests and public outcry following the fee hike.
Previously, UNILAG students paid N19,000 in tuition fees, which had remained unchanged for 15 years. However, the university management recently implemented new tuition fees, setting them at N190,250 for medical students and N140,250 for courses requiring laboratory and studio use. Programs not necessitating laboratory or studio facilities were fixed at N100,750.
Addressing the press, Vice Chancellor Ogunsola emphasized the necessity of transparently communicating the university’s financial challenges. She stated that the harsh economic climate in Nigeria had impacted UNILAG and made fee increases imperative. Ogunsola noted that stakeholders, including parents, students, and university unions, were informed of the need to adjust fees during discussions held in January. Furthermore, she assured that even with the fee hike, there would still be subsidies available for students.
“We spend N1.7 billion on electricity per annum, despite the fact that our street lights are solar-powered and we use low-energy bulbs. Also, we have huge debts to pay. The harsh economic climate of the nation has affected the university; we should have been increasing our fees every year. We are under pressure to produce quality education,” the Vice Chancellor explained.
Ogunsola went on to outline the significant financial burden posed by maintenance costs, particularly for the university’s hostels, which alone account for N500 million annually. She clarified that the additional charges were necessary to bolster dwindling government funds.
Despite the ongoing protests against the fee increase, Ogunsola reiterated UNILAG’s commitment to providing quality education. She assured the public that no student would be forced to drop out due to the tuition hike. Additionally, she highlighted the revitalization of the Work Study Programme, which now offers students the opportunity to earn N500 per hour for up to 10 hours, up from the previous rate of N200 per hour. Furthermore, students can register for the Indigent Student package, with over 200 students having been adopted under this initiative last year.
Last Wednesday, students of the University of Lagos took to the streets to voice their concerns and protest the tuition fee adjustment. The situation remains tense as both students and university authorities seek common ground in this contentious issue.