The University of Zambia (UNZA) is the Country’s premier University which has been providing higher education through teaching, research and community service for 51 years now. UNZA has 24,000 students studying in over 300 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across 13 Schools and the Institute of Distance Education.

The University is committed to providing equal access to higher education to all Zambians and non-Zambians irrespective of their race, creed, language, tribe, social status, colour, nationality, religious or political affiliation.

Recently, a statement has been issued in the media suggesting some students were being denied access to education on account of failure to settle fees due. Management of the University of Zambia would like to correct the inaccurate impression created from the media statement.

It should be borne in mind that the University of Zambia, as public institution of higher learning, has three sources of income, namely (1) the government grant (28%), (2) tuition fees (69%), and (3) other sources (3%).

It should be clearly stated that Government of the Republic of Zambia has been consistent in disbursing grants to the University to cover its obligations such as paying salaries as per the 2017 budget. It should be noted that this salary grant although paid fully falls short of the monthly wage bill and requires supplementation with revenue from alternative sources which include student fees.

Generating revenue through tuition fees has been a challenging undertaking for the University despite the flexible arrangements accorded to our students. This is more pronounced with self-sponsored students and some of them who are not on 100% Government sponsorship. The University is currently owed K58 million in unpaid fees from 8,000 students.

It should be noted that the growing practice of non-payment of tuition fees has affected the smooth operations of the University. Providing quality higher education, comes with various unavoidable costs such teaching and laboratory materials, preparing and marking of examinations, and provision of Library and information communication technology services, in addition, to payment of  utilities such electricity, water, sewerage services, medical services as well as general maintenance of equipment and infrastructure.

Further, the university has a legal obligation to pay salaries for its academic and non-academic staff for them to efficiently and effectively execute their duties for the benefit of the students and society in general.

Management takes cognisance of the challenges parents, guardians and sponsors face and has come up with flexible tuition payment methods which all students and their sponsors are aware of. Students have been accorded the opportunity to pay for their tuition fees in four (4) instalments as follows:

1)    First instalment – 37.5% - start of first term which enable them to be registered in the University system
2)    Second instalment – 25% - beginning of second term
3)    Third instalment – 25% - beginning of third term
4)    Fourth instalment – 12.5% - before writing end-of-academic-year examinations

Additionally, the University has also accorded some students a user friendly payment plan for those with historic tuition fee arrears which is being managed under the Academic Affairs Unit.

With these friendly tuition fee payment provisions, there is no excuse for students and/or their sponsors to default in honouring their obligations, that is, paying tuition fees, particularly if they value university education.

Therefore, management would like to urge all affected students, without exception, to take advantage of the available provisions for paying tuition fees to avoid any inconveniences.

Damaseke Chibale
Manager, Public Relations

31st July 2017