Universities May Put Fee Hikes on Backburner

DUBAI - Some UAE universities plan to keep fee hikes on hold, and may even cut fees, while others are considering financial help for students struggling because of the economic slowdown.

By Preeti Kannan

Published: Tue 17 Feb 2009, 1:55 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 7:53 PM

Some institutions anticipate fewer enrolments and increased withdrawals in the new academic year that begins in June. Already, a few students have asked for transfer certificates to return to their home countries.

“Normally, we stagger fees over long periods of time. This time we will keep the economic situation in mind and will look at making payments even more flexible by offering more instalments,’’ said Professor Raed Awamleh, director of Middlesex University Dubai. “We have to act responsibly at these times.

“Education is a bit more resilient. However, we are watching the situation closely. It is possible that things will be challenging in the following months,” he added.

Skyline University College has put fee increases on the backburner until the situation shows signs of improvement. “We were supposed to hike fees for the next academic year. But, we have put on hold the increase,” said Nitin Anand, head of academic support services at the college.

The management is also anticipating more withdrawals at the end of this semester. “Usually, our withdrawal numbers are confined to one per cent. But this year, we expect larger withdrawals from the expatriate community and also foresee our enrolments to dip during the new academic year due to the recession. We are waiting for the Central Board of Secondary Examinations to end to get a clear picture on the enrolment numbers,” he said, adding that there is a lot of uncertainty over admission figures.

Anand pointed out that the university had already planned its financial budget to absorb any decrease in numbers.

At least two students have already cited recession as the reason for withdrawing from Indian engineering college Bits-Pilani, Dubai, in early February. Though the management does not expect any significant withdrawals, it is prepared to offer financial assistance to students in exceptional circumstances.

The college is even planning a 20 to 25 per cent increase in its fees, which it says is nominal. “The increase being planned is reasonable and we will keep the financial situation in mind,” said Dr M. Ramachandran, director of the college.

He predicts a slight increase in students seeking financial assistance given the global situation this year.

On the contrary, officials of Manipal University Dubai are closely monitoring the situation and are prepared for fee cuts if necessary. They are also determined to adopt a conservative approach to spending.

“If fee reduction is necessary and will benefit the community at large, we are open to it. We plan to be austere and frugal in our expenses as it would be imprudent to spend at the same pace during an economic slowdown,” said B. Ramjee, director of Manipal University Dubai.

Raymi van der Spek, vice-president at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, forecasts an “accelerated demise” of smaller and marginal colleges in the country in the months to come due to increased pressure from home campuses to churn out larger revenues.


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