Continuing students at Kyambogo University are protesting late payment charges for the second semester of the academic year 2020/2021.
Through their leaders, students noted that it is unfair for the university to demand the late payment charge without prior communication.
Daniel Oduori, the Guild Representative Council for the School of Management and Entrepreneurship explained that the students including himself were shocked to receive emails on April 8, 2022, instructing them to clear late payment dues.
Most of these students had completed their second-semester exams, which officially closed on April 10, 2022, and left for their homes.
Under normal circumstances, the Shillings 50,000 late payment charge is slapped on students who fail to clear tuition dues within the first six weeks of a semester. In this case, students should have cleared their tuition by February 17, 2022, according to the university or risk being penalized with the charge.
However, due to inconsistencies arising from the COVID-19 lockdown from 2019 to 2020, some universities including Kyambogo exempted students from the charge in addition to granting students permission to sit examinations after making a partial payment.
In any case, while the students feel that the exemption from late payment should have remained for the second semester just like it was in the first, they are upset that it was not communicated to them early enough.
Calvin Oketch, a finalist pursuing vocational studies in Agriculture, says that it would be hard for him to convince his parents that there is an additional charge after clearing his tuition.
Vicky Wasagali, who is a GRC at the Faculty of Special Needs and Rehabilitation explains they were prompted to appeal to the university administration to bail out financially constrained students, especially when the economic effects of COVID-19 are still evident.
However, the University through the Bursar’s office blamed the inconsistency in communication on the charge on a system error.
An email to one of the students from the Bursar’s office read; “Please be reminded that the fees payment deadline for semester 2 the academic year 2020/2021 was 17 February 2022 unfortunately some of the students were not billed because of a system error.”
Throughout the course of last year, public universities including Kyambogo and Makerere transitioned from an old students’ record management system to a new one, Academic Management Information System-ACMIS.
During the transition, some of the students’ records went missing while others had errors in addition to the transition making registration for the semesters then and tuition payment impossible.
However, as of this year, the same universities communicated that the system was rectified and encouraged students to make their payments.
Through observation by our reporter at Kyambogo University, some of the students are still experiencing issues with the system such as missing records for enrollment and tuition payments for the second semester.