By Salim Ibrahim Isa
Since late last year, many public universities have released revised fees, primarily reviewed upwards in unprecedented percentages (mostly more than a 100%). Students, parents and other stakeholders have expressed shock, with many blaming the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for being behind the increase as a response to the Union’s fallout with the Federal Government last year and members of the Union laying responsibility to the executive councils of respective universities.
Whatever the reason for the increase and whoever is behind it, the rising cost of education is a reality students and other stakeholders have to face, for it is doubtful to be reversed.
It will be useful to consider the following discussion, especially by students who would be directly affected by the fee hike.
Choice of courses
Choosing a course to study has been a longstanding issue. Many students go to university to study courses for years only to realise later that they could have made better choices regarding their aspirations. With education being more expensive, prospective students will save themselves much disappointment later in their studies or after graduating by researching courses before applying for them and making informed decisions. Nobody wants to pay massive amounts of money to study a course only to find out later that it has no job prospects or something like that.
Alternatives to degrees
It is not a divine revelation that everybody must have a degree. Colleges of education, polytechnics and other higher institutions offer various types of training and award multiple certificates, which can be as useful as a degree, depending on how the holder uses acquired knowledge. A student who cannot afford the higher costs of a university education shouldn’t lose all hope. It is still OK to seek other affordable alternatives and acquire training and certification.
Many non-degree holders have had spectacular achievements the world over. The most important thing is the training and how and to what use it is put.
Thanks to the internet, a significant number of universities all over the world now offer many courses online. This eliminates the burden of physical presence and its attendant financial implications, making the courses a lot cheaper while maintaining the quality of the courses. Many of these courses have flexible payment schedules, so students can pay in instalments and flexible classes, allowing students to work while studying. One may explore the availability of courses of choice both within and outside Nigeria and enrol in a good course at a good university. In addition, students may apply for discounts and fee waivers to make their studies even more affordable.
Scholarships and sponsorships
Governments, universities, foundations, companies and even individuals within Nigeria and abroad offer scholarships and financial aid to students under various schemes to subsidise education. Some scholarships involve moving to the supporting country/institution, while others support candidates locally. Sponsorships may also be complete or partial. A good way to be up-to-date on scholarship information is to subscribe to scholarship advertising websites and make a good network, especially in academia. Students need to remember, however, that all scholarships have criteria, and many of these criteria revolve around sound academic performance. Nobody wants to waste money on candidates who are not serious about studying, so all need to buckle up.
Salim Ibrahim Isa wrote via email@example.com.
A nice and informative piece 👌