Pakistan

LAHORE (Web Desk) – Students of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) have launched a petition campaign to challenge the Univesity’s unaffordable inflation in the costs of tuition and attendance.

The students have condemned a sudden increase in the costs and university’s policy which stipulates that “Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice.”

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The online petition states: “The cost of attendance has been raised by almost 10 percent all of a sudden. There exists no policy to challenge this hike as LUMS maintains tuition and fees are subject to change without notice.”

The petition said that tuition fee per semester had been increased from Rs252,000 (fee in 2015-2016) to Rs272,400 for fall 2016-17. It demanded that for enrolled students tuition fee should be frozen at the level it was in the year of enrolment. It said the university should increase tuition fees only for new students but keep constant the amount charged in the first year throughout the course of their degree programme.

Muhammad Zain Qasmi, a LUMS alumnus, started the petition in the name of the LSAAC at the online forum: change.org. It has so far attracted 1,161 signatories. Change.org sends a letter on behalf of the petitioners to the parties addressed in petitions if they get at least 1,000 signatures.

In the petition, Qasmi said that self-paying students comprised a large percentage of LUMS student body. Parents exhaust all their resources and life’s savings to send their children to the LUMS, it added.

He complained that the University “earns millions in endowments, funding from multinationals etc all of which goes into its expansionist plans rather than keeping the cost of attendance down.”

LUMS Vice Chancellor Sohail Naqvi said students granted admission to a degree programme who were unable to afford the tuition fee could avail financial aid offered by the university. He dismissed as baseless the statement that the LUMS was only affordable for students from very wealthy backgrounds.

He said the LUMS was not receiving any financial assistance from the government. “It is a not-for-profit institution. The tuition revenue only partially pays for the operational expenses. All new projects such as the Law School and student hostels are paid for from private donations,” he said.

He said the university had announced an eight percent hike in tuition fee and not the 10 percent figure quoted in the petition.

“We are committed to providing the highest quality education at the most affordable price,” he said.