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–UL Pres. Dr. Nelson tells students, as registration arrears hit US$1m

The University of Liberia (UL) has set 30 April 2021 as deadline for all students to complete payment of their tuition and fees, or risk being dropped from the UL – Eportal system effective 1 May because of the alarming increase in arrears of tuition and fees in the tune of about US$1m.

“On April 30th, you will be clocked out of the university system, you will not be a current student, all that you have done up to midterm will be turned to zero and you will be out of the university,” UL President Rev. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson told a live press conference Wednesday, 21 April on the Capitol Hill campus.

Flanked by UL officials at the press conference, Dr. Nelson said this policy should have taken effect during the last academic semester, but was deferred to this semester to allow for more publicity. But the UL president says the non – payment rate has further heightened this semester, thus necessitating the enforcement of the policy.

“But the university or professional education is not charity and I am very serious about this and very strong about this because I love students, and we can’t love you to the point that we make [you] to make shame out of yourself. $2,500 Liberian Dollars … is too cheap for you to still be owing the university as an undergraduate student,” he says.

The tuition free policy announced by the Government of Liberia for undergraduate programs in public universities and colleges remains in force at the University of Liberia, which means undergraduate students will only be required to pay their registration fees of LD$2,500, while students in graduate or professional schools must pay their tuition and fees or be dropped from the UL – Eportal system.

According to Dr. Nelson, students in the graduate and professional schools will do their payment and make an arrangement with the Business and Finance Office on what they will do further.

Dr. Nelson emphasizes that on the 30th of April “there will be no extension,” disclosing that “all the appeals that will come are officially denied in advance.”

Dr. Nelson stresses that the “University needs all funds on board to continue our faculty development initiatives, the expansion of our academic programs and curriculum revision, increase renovation activities and other operational and logistics needs.”

“The Government is playing its part with the regular payment of salaries, stipend to Medical and Pharmacy [students] and provision of tuition subsidy. The students MUST play their part!!” he said.

He applauds the National Undergraduate Tuition Free Policy instituted by President George Manneh Weah in 2018, stating that the cost of undergraduate education at the university was reduced from an average of US$85.00 to an equivalent of US$14.72 or LD$2,500 per semester.

“This policy, along with the automation of our registration, has created a smoother platform for retaining admission for students at the University as reflected in our admission records for the last four semesters,” Dr. Nelson says.

However, Dr. Nelson reveals that due to the alarming increase in arrears of tuition and fees at all programs during last semester amounting to about US$1m, the university crafted, discussed with various stakeholders, and had a tuition policy approved by both the UL Faculty Senate and the Board of Trustees.

“This policy provides for all students seeking to retain admission at the University up to Ninety Days (90 days) to complete billing and payment of tuition and fees, or otherwise forfeit their admission status,” Dr. Nelson says.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nelson cautions students of the University of Liberia not to be misled by anyone regarding this policy, explaining that tuition is free for undergraduate students, except that they have to pay registration fees of LD$2,500.

“So in doing so, remember at this university when we give you our admission letter, we give you, John Brown an ID number. So don’t follow the crowd because crowd don’t have ID number at the university; political parties don’t have ID numbers at the university; we give each student an ID number,” he says.

He warns that if anyone tries to disrupt the system and they ge caught, the university administration will remove them from the institution for some time until a decision is made.

By Winston W. Parley

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