University of Nairobi

The entrance to the University of Nairobi. 

| Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

UoN fee rise: Thousands of students fail to report

What you need to know:

  • University administration says 1,971 government-sponsored students have not reported four weeks since the admissions began. 
  • The University of Nairobi, alongside Kenyatta and Moi are among the institutions in serious financial problems.

Edith Kithei Musomba had to raise money from well-wishers to join the University of Nairobi following the recent fee increment.

Ms Musomba, who was the best Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination candidate in Machakos county and 10th nationally in 2020, is among the new students affected by the decision to increase fees by Kenya’s premier university.

After excelling in the national tests at Machakos Girls High School, Ms Musomba’s academic journey appeared to have ended abruptly as her could not raise the amount indicated in the fee structure.

She was required to pay Sh59,000 as tuition fee, Sh38, 000 for accommodation and buy a laptop valued at Sh40, 000.

The figure was a sharp increment from the Sh26,500 annual fee, inclusive of Sh16,000 tuition fees.

“We had to call a harambee for her to join the university,” the girl’s mother, Florence Ndanu, told the Daily Nation.

Ms Musomba’s secondary school education was sponsored by Kenya Connect, a non-governmental organisation.

She was among students whose efforts were recognised by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha when he announced the results in May.

Ms Ndanu said she would need more help if her daughter is to complete the course.

Many First Year students at the University interviewed said they are not sure they will complete their academic programmes.

Self-sponsored students

University of Nairobi Director of Corporate Affairs, John Orindi, said 1,971 government-sponsored students have not reported four weeks since the admissions began. 

The institution hopes they would have made it by Friday, the deadline for First Year students to report for the September-December semester. 

Of the 6,407 students who received letters from the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps) to join the university, some 4,436 have made it. 

“The university usually gives new students a reporting window of five weeks. Those who will not have reported by Friday will have to wait until next year,” Mr Orindi said.

Thousands of self-sponsored undergraduate, masters and doctorate students are also yet to join the university following the increase in fees. 

Mr Orindi said out of 10,971 students called for government and privately sponsored programmes, a total of 6,835 have already reported.

From the 4,564 students who received letters for self-sponsored programmes, some 2,399 have reported to the university.

The high number of students yet to report is believed to be as a result of the increased fees announced by the University of Nairobi recently as it attempts to address its financial crisis.

Last month, the University of Nairobi announced that undergraduate annual tuition and administrative fees had been increased from Sh26,500 to Sh59,000 for first year government-sponsored students. 

A student will pay Sh54,000 in the second semester.

Financial problems

While the university maintained the regulated tuition fee of Sh16, 000 charged by the public institutions, it increased administrative fees.

Self-sponsored degree programmes, which cost an average of Sh300,000, are now more than Sh600,000.

The fee for self-sponsored students taking medicine was increased from Sh445,000 to Sh640,000.

Those pursuing Ear, Nose and Throat surgery will pay Sh480,000 up from Sh324, 000.

The revised administrative and academic fees have, however, not been implemented for continuing students.

The fee for master’s courses in art programmes, which used to be Sh275,000 has been increased by 147 per cent to Sh680,000.

The University of Nairobi, alongside Kenyatta and Moi are among the institutions in serious financial problems.

Several reports have recommended that these universities need to come up with ways of boosting their revenues.

The International Monetary Fund identified the University of Nairobi as being among the State institutions with huge financial deficits and proposed job cuts and other reforms.

The university is also not paying pension and remitting workers’ statutory deductions, according to the Kenya Revenue Authority. 

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