Choice of varsity to decide cost of degree for students


Universities will be required to declare their tuition fees for each programme beforehand so that students choose programmes while also considering their costs.

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Students in public universities will from this year pay varying amounts of tuition fees depending on the university one attends, in changes meant to fix the funding crisis in institutions of higher learning.

The new model will take effect when the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) places the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates.

Universities will be required to declare their tuition fees for each programme beforehand so that students choose programmes while also considering their costs.

KUCCPS has delayed placing students awaiting completion of a survey by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reform. The interim report is ready while the final one is expected in about a month’s time.

This is one of the radical recommendations by the team whose term was extended to June 9 2023 by President William Ruto.

University tuition fees will also go up although a figure has not yet been determined. The Daily Nation understands that the reform team has completed its interim report and will only use the extension to firm it up.

“Parents need to know that the there will be consequences for the university choices they make for their children. For example, if one chooses to study medicine at the University of Nairobi, it will not be at the same cost as what students at Moi University will pay for the same course,” a highly placed source said.

The government will give uniform capitation, with families expected to pay the difference. Public universities are funded through the differentiated unit cost (DUC). Under the plan, the government is meant to cater for 80 per cent of the cost of a programme with the student paying 20 per cent.

However, the government has been giving universities about 48 per cent, leaving huge funding gaps. The situation has been compounded by the fact that the tuition fees paid by students has remained at Sh16,000 annually for more than 30 years.

According to the Universities Fund (UF), the most expensive programme is a bachelor’s degree in dentistry at Sh720,000 while a bachelor of arts degree costs the least at Sh144,000. It is likely that universities will quote tuition fees higher than the UF data. The recommendation appears to be in line with a suggestion made by vice chancellors of public universities to the education reforms team. They recommended that, at the very minimum, a student should pay Sh24,000 and a maximum of Sh52,000.

“We are convinced that if students are talked to well, there is no reason they cannot accept an increase of Sh8,000. With a constant Sh24,000 fee by the student, the government will pay more for the most expensive programmes like dentistry. This makes sense because the government is putting more money in programmes it considers critical to development. The more expensive a programme is, the more strategic it is also for national development,” Prof Francis Aduol, the VC of the Technical University of Kenya, told Nation in a recent interview.

Prof Aduol said the government should only sponsor students for the time they are meant to be in the university. He added that their progress should also be tracked and those who repeat units made to pay for it without government support.

The UF is set to launch a biometric system of registration of students to ensure accuracy. The system is being developed at a cost of Sh48 million. The cost of academic programmes is determined by the cost of hiring the lecturers, equipment needed, laboratories and learning resources, among others.

Students pay more for living expenses, whether they reside on or off campus. This varies depending on the location of the universities, with those in cities like Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru paying more. There are other additional costs, such as for use of computers and buying textbooks and stationery.

Focus will also be on Dr Ruto who promised to “increase current capitation for both university and technical and vocational education and training (Tvet)” education through the Kenya Kwanza education charter.