Public universities in the country have increased the sale of admission forms for undergraduate and diploma courses for the 2018/2019 academic year, as prospective applicants struggle to raise funds to pursue tertiary education.
The sharp increase in the cost of admission forms comes months after all public universities were directed to cede 34 percent of their Internally Generated Funds (IGF) to central government.
The University of Cape Coast is selling its scratch-card for the 2018/19 admissions of applicants into its undergraduate, diploma and certificate programmes at a cost of GH¢220, an 18 percent increase on the 2017/2018 cost of GH¢180.
University of Ghana’s undergraduate admissions for the 2018/19 academic year online application e-voucher is being sold at GH¢200, also an 18 percent increase on the previous year’s cost of GH¢180.
Ashanti Region-based, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), which sold its admission form at GH¢170 last year, is expected to sell it at GH¢200 this year.
The nation’s first private university, Valley View University, is selling its undergraduate application form for GH¢120, something previously sold at GH¢100; meanwhile, Wisconsin University College is also selling its admission forms for the 2018/2019 academic year at GH¢130 instead of the GH¢100 it sold it in the 2017/2018 academic year.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Ebenezer Owusu Oduro, commenting on the impact of the new directive for public universities to cede 34 percent of IGF to government during the graduation ceremony of the University in July last year, noted that: “The allocation of goods and services for the tertiary education sub-sector ranges between one and three percent of the sub-sector’s total budget, making it virtually impossible to carry out planned activities.
“The university has not received clearance to employ new full-time staff; a large chunk of IGF therefore goes to paying critical staff which the university has taken on to ensure that academic work is not negatively affected. Having to relinquish 34 percent of IGF will put the university in very dire financial straits.”
The Internally Generated Fund (IGF) concept implies that central government may not have to provide funding for all public universities on every expenditure heading.
By this, the universities are therefore persuaded to seek ways of earning additional revenue internally, and to use the same in the university’s operations.
Exploit or fund raising
While university admissions continue to drop, public universities have consistently increased their cost of admission forms, and sold over and above the vacant positions available.
This has raised concerns as to whether public universities are not fleecing applicants by selling so many applications for very limited vacancies.
For instance, for the 2016 academic year, the University of Ghana received a total of 35,630 applications and was able to offer admission to only 18,106 applicants.
This implies the premier university rejected 17,524 qualified applicants, representing about 49 percent of all applicants.
The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) also reduced admissions for this year – by 18 percent, on similar grounds of limited facilities.
The University of Cape Coast is no different. More than half of the qualified applicants who sought admission to pursue undergraduate and post-graduate courses for the 2017/18 academic year did not gain admission.
Out of the total 13,188 applications – made up of 12,240 undergraduates and 948 post-graduates – received, only 5,785 were admitted by the university.
Private individuals and organisations, last academic year, had to help young people with very good grades who could not afford to buy university forms to purchase them and apply for admission.
Many more qualified young people simply could not afford to purchase admission forms due to lack of funds and had to wait for the 2018/2019 academic year – only to now have to raise more funds due to the increase in cost of application forms.