The House of Representatives has moved a motion to investigate the reason behind the acceptance fees imposed on newly admitted students by Nigerian tertiary institutions.
The motion, titled “Need to Investigate the Acceptance Fees Charged by Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria”, was moved by the Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, at the plenary on Wednesday.
Ihonvbere, while moving the motion stated that “The House notes that the arbitrary high acceptance fees charged by some public universities on new students across the country have become a matter of great concern to many families.
“The House also notes that amid the rising frustrations over the exorbitant fees, indigent families of new students that are forced to pay the acceptance fees are bemoaning the unusual astronomical increases against the backdrop of the fact that Federal Universities are supposedly tuition-free.
“The House is aware that the acceptance fees are discriminatory, as they vary from one university to the other, which clearly shows that they have become mere internal revenue-generating mechanisms thus constituting an impediment to the smooth process of entry into universities.”
The lawmaker noted that while some of the institutions are charging minimal fees, some are charging astronomically, whereas others do not charge anything, while most institutions do not charge acceptance fees against tuition fees, thus raising the question as to whether the institutions were not established under the same law.
Ihonvbere stressed that, “If the situation is unchecked, acceptance fees may surreptitiously become the school fee, thus affecting the number of students that may gain entry into higher institutions in Nigeria. The House is worried that the dire consequences of exorbitant acceptance fees in our public universities have led to many indigent students losing their admission as a result of their inability to afford the fees.”
Adopting the motion, the House urged the Federal Government to “increase the funding of public universities to moderate the excessive drive for Internally Generated Revenue at the expense of popular access to public education in Nigeria.”
The House also mandated the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Services to “investigate the high acceptance fees charged by Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.”