SEVERAL months of tireless agitations and protests by students of the Lagos State University (LASU) Thursday yielded result as the state government began a refund of tuition fees for 2013/14 session.
The refund was an aftermath of school fees’ review by the government after students protested the initial high tuition.
Following the release of N209 million to LASU, in the first tranche of refund, the school authority began issuance of cheques on Thursday. The refund ranges from N63,000 to N300,000 per student.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Fatai Olukoga and Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. John Obafunwa, among others, were at the LASU Main Auditorium to present the cheques to some recipients.
The recipients, 5,031 in total, were 100 Level students and 200 Level Direct Entry students.
While the names of only a few were called to receive cheques, many others who were expecting theirs walked out in disappointment because they did not hear their names.
The authorities, however, gave assurance that all students would eventually get theirs when the government pays the N89 million balance of the refund.
Olukogan, who represented Fashola, said the money released was N209 million and the remaining would be released later. He added that government was committed to ensuring the wellbeing of the students, even though LASU remains the institution that charges the lowest fee in the country.
According to him, when the government reversed the fees, many people dubbed it as a political move that would not come to be. “We have proved them wrong,” he said.
Fashola, in his speech read by Olukoga, noted that the government was not unaware of comments from critical stakeholders that had made a mockery of university education in the country through the low school fees.
“We are also not unaware of the moves by the same stakeholders to frustrate our efforts at ensuring the quality of LASU programmes.
“Notwithstanding the frustration, we are relentlessly committed to making LASU a world-class university of our time.
“Information at our disposal reveals that initial computation of excess money to be refunded to 100 level and 200 level Direct Entry students for 2013/14 academic session stood at N209.874 million.
“However, following the release of the fund, the university management later reported a shortfall in the computed excess money to be refunded, particularly to those in 200 level to 400 level,” he said, adding that the shortfall would be released after the reconciliation exercise is over.
Obafunwa said that 5,031 students were supposed to have their money refunded in two tranche and N209 million had been released for disbursement in the first phase of the exercise.
According to him, some people thought that it would not be possible to get refund of the money from the state government, but such people had been put to shame.
“What some people thought was impossible, we are witnessing it. Some individuals try to take advantage of the slow pace of the refund and kept on saying that government or management has no intention of making the refund,” he said.
Obafunwa stated that the management of the school went through rigorous process to ensure that the fund was released for disbursement to the students.