The Government has announced that State universities must set their full fees, including tuition and accommodation at $5 000 and below per semester, for both full-time conventional students and those on bloc release.
The universities were also banned from diverting any fees to pay lecturers extra money because salaries are paid by the Government.
Polytechnics and teachers’ colleges have been directed to charge fees below $1 300 a semester for certificate and diploma programmes, while higher national diplomas and degrees will attract slightly higher fees.
Tuition fees will be a maximum of $1 200 a semester.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira has said Government is still to approve any increases in fees, although he acknowledged yesterday that higher fees were required the hikes would be set and approved through proper processes.
The directive will hit those State universities that have jumped the gun and have been raising tuition fees more than 10-fold without Government approval.
It also reverses the practice whereby students in parallel and block release programmes, who are generally in employment and seeking to upgrade qualifications, have been charged far higher fees.
Universities that had been trying to set new fees without approval had been telling full-time students to pay as much as $9 600 a semester while parallel and block release students were being charged between $15 000 and $24 000 to pay lecturers extra to teach these classes.
“Every State university is governed by Government and there are no fee increments that were approved for any State universities as we speak,” Minister Murwira said yesterday.
“Yes, the fees will be adjusted. Our adjustments will be based on processes we follow and people will be informed. We have reports that some tertiary institutions such as Mutare Polytechnic, Great Zimbabwe University and Midlands State University have increased their fees without Government approval.
“This year we have agreed on a fee structure budget which has been approved by the Ministry of Finance. Our tuition was $150 a semester and we have increased it to between $1 090 and $1 200, especially at teacher’s colleges. It is cheaper than high school. There are amenities which are then charged. Our fees are not what people were imagining,” he said
Tertiary institutions, the minister said, should be charging fees within the new limits as they will remain viable.
“The fees increases should be to ensure institutions remain operational and according to our calculations this should not exceed $5 000 at state universities, while privately-owned institutions will be regulated by the market,” Prof Murwira said.