No increase

National

By PHOEBE GWANGILO
THE proposed increase in fees at the University of PNG for 2018 has been put on hold after talks with the Government, an official says.
But the university will review the situation in May after it sees how much the State is allocating to help fund its operations this year.
The university was recently forced to review its fees structure for this year – with increases by nearly 200 per cent – because its allocation in the 2018 national Budget was inadequate to fund its operations in the new academic year.
The university council will meet today to discuss the decision to shelve the increase in fees, and what additional funding they can expect from the State.
Higher Education Minister Pila Niningi met with the UPNG management last week to find ways to avoid the increases after students aired their concern that some
would not be able to afford the new fees.
Vice-Chancellor Vincent Malaibe said the decision not to increase the fees came with a condition that the council would meet today to discuss it further.
“(We will discuss) any relief based on government’s additional funding to the university,” he said.
“When we met them, basically the decision was based on the assurance by the Prime Minister on additional support.”
He said they would wait until May to see what support the Government came up with.
“If Government comes good, then all will remain like that. Otherwise the university will decide what it will do,” he said.
“May is coming towards our first semester so the decision will then be made.”
Niningi told students, parents, sponsors and the public that the University of PNG fees would remain the same as last year.
“I would like to let the parents, guardians and students know that government has stepped in to assist them,” he said.
One of the measures suggested at the meeting last week was for UPNG to review its expenditures.
“We’ve asked them (UPNG management) to review their expenditure in areas where they can cut back on,” Niningi said.
Last year’s compulsory fee was K2939 for students attending the Waigani Campus.
The proposed new fee was K7500.

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