House of Representatives has asked the Federal ministry of education and the National Universities Commission, NUC to immediately abolish the payment of acceptance fees in nation’s tertiary institutions.
The House said that the practice has drastically affected the level of enrolment of qualified students in the universities and other institutions.
The Parliament further stated that with the economy in dire straits, parents are being subjected to more hardships.
The resolution followed the consideration and adoption of a motion titled “Call for Abolishment of Acceptance Fees into Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria”, moved by Hon. Chinedu Emeka Martins at the plenary.
Leading the debate, Martins noted a recent data from the National Universities Commission that out of a population of over 180 million, only about 2 million are enrolled into the universities nationwide, representing 1 percent of the population and clearly indicating that the proportion of the population attending tertiary institutions is low when compared to other advanced countries.
He also stated that additional data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) shows that between 2010 and 2015, of the 10 million applicants that sought admissions into tertiary institutions, only 26 percent gained admissions, indicating that about 75 percent of the applicants fail to gain admissions every year and also reinforcing the fact that access to tertiary education is low in Nigeria.
He expressed concern that many federally operated tertiary institutions charged as much as N30, 000 per student, while some States and private institutions also charged significantly more. According to him, University of Ibadan (UI) charged N35,000; University of Lagos (UNILAG) N20,000; Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) N30,000; Imo State University (lMSU) charged N70,000 just as Lagos State University (LASU) mandated students to pay N20,000 as acceptance fees.
He said that the requirement for payment of non-refundable acceptance fees as condition precedent for admissions was one of the factors contributing to poor access to tertiary education.
He said “Applicants are expected to pay the acceptance fees within a short deadline despite having gone through the tortuous process of paying and sitting for the Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE), the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) and making the cut off mark; and if they are unable to meet the deadline, the applicants are surcharged for late payment with the risk of losing the offer of admissions.
“If the exploitative admission practices of tertiary institutions in the country are left unchecked, the aspirations of indigent Nigerians to study in Universities will continue to be cut short because of their inability to pay acceptance fees”.
Other lawmakers who contributed to the debate condemned the practice, asking the federal government to stop it.
Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to investigate the admission policies and practices of tertiary institutions in the country as they relate to the charge of acceptance fees.
Then, the lawmakers said, will enable the House to work towards the removal of all obstacles to accessing tertiary education in the country.