Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) says no student whose accounts are in arrears by end of June will be allowed to write examinations.
However, NUST spokesperson Kaitira Kandjii told New Era that this rule is not applicable to students who are supported by the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) as an agreement with NSFAF makes provision for these students to write exams, regardless of the state of their accounts.
Initially, Kandjii said the response was slow, but payments have shown a steady increase since then and hopefully most students will settle their fees before the end of June to sit for examinations.
According to him, it is important to note that the university generates the largest portion of its revenue from the government subsidy, then tuition income and third, stream income.
He noted that untimely payment will negatively affect the financial position of the university, and therefore NUST appeals to all students to pay their fees on time.
He said the rules of the institution clearly state that no student will be allowed to write an exam if she or he did not settle their accounts. Last month, Kandjii said NUST reminded all students, via a text message, that 66 percent of outstanding fees needed to be settled by March 31, as stipulated in the yearbook.
A payment plan, outlined in the yearbook, was made available to students who wished to pay their fees in instalments.
The payment plan includes that for the first semester 33 percent to be settled by February 29, while 66 percent was due March 31 – meaning students had time to settle their accounts until April 29.
The second semester include that 33 percent was to be covered by July 29, and 66 percent to be settled by August 31 until September 30.
Following student protests earlier this year, Vice-Chancellor Professor Tjama Tjivikua said the university’s registration fees of N$3 500 have not been scrapped, as widely believed, and must be settled before students sit for exams in June.
NUST and the ministry of higher education only agreed to allow students to register without having to pay fees upfront, but such students would still be required to settle those fees before they can be allowed to sit for examinations, Tjivikua told New Era.
He said expressions such as “scrapped” and “abolished” in reference to NUST fees were confusing and misleading, as they created a belief that students would no longer be required to settle such fees after student protests.
“Nothing was scrapped. It’s wrong vocabulary. It only means you now have time to pay over a longer period, meaning you have just postponed payment of your debt, but your debt is still in your book. That’s what we are saying,” Tjivikua explained.
“Nothing was abolished. It was a temporary measure to address the emergency. The students will have to pay their fees, otherwise they will not write their exams.”
Tjivikua said once students register they have access to their own accounts any time of the day and can see what is reflected on them.
“They should not expect government to pay for it. They should take it upon themselves as they were allowed to register and settle their accounts,” he noted.
“There is no such thing as free tertiary education in Namibia. In business management, one takes about six courses per semester. What we are saying is, in the next six months until June one must at least pay N$1 500 on average. The second semester you don’t pay any registration fees anymore, because you only pay in the first semester,” he clarified.
He denied that NUST fees are exorbitant, saying: “We do an analysis every year of all the courses we offer and compare them to others in the region.”