Dean of Students Affairs, University of Ghana, Prof. Godfred Bokpin, has explained that the proposed increment in residential hall fees stems from the urgent need of the University to service debts owed a consortium of banks as a result of the construction of some four halls of residence.
Management of the University have proposed to increase residential fees by about 30%.
The increment affects students residing in the diaspora halls as well as the traditional halls.
Although the loans were secured to construct the diaspora halls, Prof. Bokpin says that its proposal for a general the increase, which will affect all halls equally, is based on the grounds of fairness.
He adds that the University is under pressure to make deposits to escape the risk of losing some of its properties.
“The consortium of Banks asked the University to immediately make available GHC50m by the end of May 2019. The University struggled and was able to pay GHC20m. The loan was restructured and we are supposed to pay GHC70m this year and GHC70m next academic year and the other GHC70m the following academic year,” he said.
Whiles students are complaining about the increment, Prof. Bopkin says that it is not enough to settle the entire debt.
According to reports, residential fees for fresh students, as well as continuing students, who are fresh applicants to any of the four Diaspora halls, namely Limann Hall, Kwapong Hall, Frances Sey Hall and Jean Nelson Hall, may go up by over 70%.
“…even with the 33.1% increment all that we are getting from the UGEL, it is just around GHC12m to GHC13m, then when you put what you will get from the traditional halls with the increment is not even up to GHC22m and we are talking about paying GHC70m by the end of October this year”
He mentions that school management was also taking steps to help pay off the loans.
“management is looking for ways to fund the extra which is far bigger than what it will realise from the increment”.
About the UGEL loan
Earlier this year, it come to light that University management was struggling to pay a ¢43m loan facility contracted in 2008 for the construction of four halls on campus.
The halls are the Dr. Hilla Limann Hall, Alexander Kwapong Hall, Elizabeth Frances Sey Hall and the Jean Nelson Aka hall.
The loan has grown to ¢528m as of February 2019.
The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic and Students Affairs, University of Ghana have been petitioned by two students of the University over the increment in residential fees.
Consequently, they are calling on University Management to submit the proposed residential fees to parliament for approval before levying students.
The students mention that the implementation of the over 33% proposed increment in hall fees “without recourse to the Fees and Charges Act may be unlawful”
There is uncertainty among residents in the various halls of the University over what amount to pay as residential fees for the 2019/2020 academic year which is barely 14-days away.