This publication observes the Niger Delta University school fees behaviour for the past decade. The undulation in the fees payment pattern. The adjustments, freedoms and deadlines, etc.
Within the past decade, NDU have enacted several school fees policies which are often based on existential realities. This is to say NDU policies are in response to existing realities. For instance, in post 2015 recession, the NDU management under the Prof. Humphrey Ogoni administration enacted a school fees policy of 60/40%. This policy made it possible for students to pay 60% of their school fees and continue with their studies while they pay 40% later on.
This policy was well received by members of the students’ community and helped relieved students from the effects of the then recession. However, the aftermath of this policy soon tell on the later Sammy’s administration where it has to stop the policy as a result of perceived students’ inability to pay up their fees.
According to the reports released by the VC in his second radio talkshow 19th January, 2021, only about 3,000 students have paid their fees and registered for the 2019/2020 academic session, a figure that later grew to 5,000 by the time of the third radio talkshow.
Strictening Orientations of the NDU Fees Policies
It is often said that just as the bird flies without perching, so does the hunter shoot without missing. Management had often used existing circumstances to tackle students’ inability to pay school fees.
The first is the re-echoing of the university’s traditional policy on school fees payment. Oftentimes, the VC echoes the university’s law on school fees which has been largely played down upon over the years. The law states that in any given session, students are expected to pay their fees and do your registration 2 weeks into resumption or you pay 2,000/4,000 late registration for returning and fresh students respectively.
These days, the NDU is becoming more pronounced on the school fees policy as many students are no longer school fees oriented.
School Fees Payment Portal Closure
The second is the closure of school fees payment portals. Since many students would not in their own volition pay school fees, management had in the past closed payment portals against defaulting students.
Suspension of Studies
When management decide to close fees portal, students who are yet to pay their fees are requested to suspend their studies to the next year. If government and stakeholders do not come in and prevail on management, students have no other choice than to suspend their studies and come the next session.
No School Fees, No Admission Letter
Since many students are not easily responding to fees payment, management had locked the printing of the NDU admission letters (this is different from the Jamb admission letter). All newly admitted students would pay their school fees before they can print it out. This is a measure to get students paying.
Stricter Recent School Fees Measure
It seems all the measures that the university had taken are still not working. We just noticed in the current 2020/2021 clearance that management had made the fees payment compulsory upon admission and clearance. Before now, you would pay acceptance, complete online clearance, print acceptance letter and go to the department for verification. However, as it is now, immediately after payment of acceptance, the system requires you to pay your fees.
This means that if you have not paid your fees, you are not a student yet. No acceptance letter, no document upload, you cannot even go to the department to do your verification.
Day by day, as school management continue to suffer from shortfall in school fees payment, management continue to enact policies that force students to comply.
Causes of NDU’s Strictening School Fees Policies
As must have been implied above, the major problem why NDU continue to modify its school fees policy is perhaps, the inability to pay school fees. Many indigenes and non indigenes took the NDU as a public school, hence played down on their fees obligation.
Many are also affected by the economic circumstances in the country, making it impossible to respond to fees payment favourably.
Others with stiff religious beliefs holds that in the course of their studies, God will send a helper. Their God does not seemed to send the helper before they enter school. Right in school, reality dawn on them. Many soon suspend their studies while others totally/voluntarily forfeit their studies as a result of unanticipated pressure, suffering and lack of funds.
Consequences of NDU’s Strictening School Fees Policies
As a result of all these portal locking and restrictions from carrying out some task without paymet of school fees, many students are having issues here and there.
For instance, many students are in 300 level but have not paid 100 level school fees. They are unable to see their results. So, if they are having any carry over, they won’t know, register it again and sit for it. So, for these set of students, their final year is just a time bomb loaded with many carry overs.
Many students till date are unable to open their files because they are yet to pay school fees. According to the VC, “they are just roaming about, they are not students”.
Some students with MPC issues now in 300 level are having a tough time in the University now. Some do not even know they have MPC issues because they haven’t paid school fees. The consequences of the NDU’s strictening school fees policies is indeed alarming on the students’ community.
Suggestions for Fees Payment in NDU
Based on the above, both management, government and the students’ community are advised to do the following:
- As a candidate, before you seek for university education, kindly beseech your sponsor and know if they can pay your fees in the University. If there is no sponsor, do not bother to buy Jamb form.
- Avoid using your school fees for other activities. Were possible, save your fees outside your reach. Being under your control gives you the opportunity to spend your school fees.
- University education is now expensive. Please, sink this in. Do not be deceived. You will just get yourself frustrated here without a sponsor and plan.
- Sit down and plan your education. Do not expose yourself to unnecessary suffering.
- While suspension/deferment of studies can be painful, it however, gives one the opportunity to reset and carry on. If the journey looks impossible, there is nothing wrong in deferment.
- It is hard to actually advice management to play down on the fees policy because if it does, MerryBet shops will be filled again. Everybody will be relapse and fees payment behaviour will be dead. It is not a bad thing that the management is trying to inculcate in students the impression that if you go to a school, you pay school fees.
- Since the fees are becoming overbearing, the government should fund the school properly to allow the fees to be reduced. Poor funding has made fees increment an only option. Education in Nigeria is now beyond the reach of the common man.
Michael Jules is the editor and publisher, Admissions and UTME Nigeria