A section of Kenyans have expressed concern about the cost of higher education following the emergence of what is claimed to be newly revised fee structures for universities in the different programmes offered.
In a series of social media posts, Kenyans shared different fee structures from different universities, public and private, and complained about the ‘exorbitant’ prices of university education. Some of the programmes would cost students up to half a million for students and there is no guarantee that the government will help cover the cost with the new university funding model.
According to a report by Daily Nation, At Kenyatta University (KU), a medical degree will cost KSh612,000; at Kisii University, KSh461,210; at Moi University, KSh612,000; and at the University of Nairobi (UoN), KSh539,750. These are all public universities that would previously waive massive amounts of money for programmes for students who are on a government scholarship.
The previous higher education funding model is called the Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) model. The Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) model, bases funding for universities on the total number of undergraduate students enrolled in the regular program and the courses they take. To remedy imbalances that saw rich and poor students get the same funding, the government has since resorted to switching to the New Higher Education Funding (NHEF) model.
In his article for The Star Worldwide, James Mbaka writes that according to the DUC model, the government, through the University Fund, was expected to cover 80% of the unit cost for university programmes, with students and the institutions bearing the remaining 20%. However, despite the government funding ratio steadily declining over time to 48.11% for public institutions and 22% for private universities, this has not been the case.
According to the fee structure above, it would cost up to more than Ksh.100,000 for students to pursue a course in Actuarial Science at Machakos University for a single semester. Another fee structure below for the Co-operative University of Kenya shows that it would cost students up to more than Ksh. 0.7 million to pursue a degree in business at the university.
The Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers, David Ndii, earlier clarified the cost of higher education saying that the costs that universities are disclosing are those that self-sponsored students pay and have always been listed in their prospectuses. He further cited that the new funding model aims to offer government help to all students and ensure a seamless transfer to higher education institutions, as the reason behind it.
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Concerns expressed by Kenyans about the new cost of higher education show that most of them are still in the dark about how the new funding model will work.