A motion before the floor of the House of Representatives is seeking the abolishment of Acceptance Fees in tertiary institutions in the country.
According to reports, the lower legislative chambers unanimously adopted the motion that was moved by Rep. Chinedu Martins (PDP-Imo) during a plenary presided over by the Speaker of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila in November, 2019, calling on the federal government to take immediate steps and put an end to the payment of the fee which they described as exploitative.
Moving the motion which is titled: “Call for Abolishment of Acceptance Fees into Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria”, Martins said that recent data from the National Universities Commission showed that only about two million people were enrolled into the universities nationwide out of a population of over 180 million.
The lawmaker posited that the estimates represented one per cent of the population which was an indication of the low attendance in tertiary institutions compared to other advanced countries.
Martins also said additional data from the National Bureau of Statistics and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board showed that out of the 10 million applicants that sought admissions into tertiary institutions, only 26 per cent gained admissions between 2010 and 2015.
He said it was an indication that about 75 per cent of the applicants failed to gain admissions every year and also reinforced that access to tertiary education in the country was low.
According to him, “The House is concerned that one of the factors contributing to poor access to tertiary education is the predatory admission policies being enforced by tertiary institutions, particularly the requirement for payment of non-refundable acceptance fees as condition precedent for admissions.
He said the House was also concerned that many federally-operated tertiary institutions charge as much as N30, 000 per student, while some states and private institutions charge significantly more.
National Network findings indicated the following charges among some tertiary institutions in the country including those in Rivers State: Rivers State University, N45,000; University of Port Harcourt, N40,000; Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, N40,000 and Federal College of Education (Technical), Omoku, N35,000.
Others are: Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, N20,000; Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori, N23,500; University of Ibadan, N35,000; University of Lagos, N20,000; Ahmadu Bello University, N30,000; Imo State University, N70,000; and Lagos State University, N20,000 amongst others.
The report said the House further expressed concern that applicants were 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 Examination (UTME) and making the cut off mark.
It is gathered that where the applicants are unable to meet the deadline for payment of the Acceptance Fees, they are surcharged for late payment with the risk of losing the offer of admissions. This, according to the lawmakers, imply that the aspirations of prospective students would be cut short if the exploitative admission practices of tertiary institutions in the country are left unchecked.
The Reps further directed the House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to investigate the admission policies and practices of tertiary institutions in the country, adding that the investigation would relate to the charge of acceptance fees and would also be in order to remove all obstacles to accessing tertiary education in the country.
Acceptance Fee, by all intents and purposes remained a big question in the hearts of many parents who viewed it as another form of corporate extortion.
That is why the motion must succeed at the end of the day. When that happens, parents whose children or wards enters into tertiary institutions in the next academic session would have been relieved of such unjustifiable fee. Is it not puzzling that one is offered admission and then asked to pay for accepting it!