AAUA Moves To Assist Physically-challenged Students

Relief came for indigent students of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, AAUA, in Ondo State as the institution bowed to pressure following the 500 percent increase in students’ tuition fees.

The institution set up a Students’ Support Centre to handle and manage scholarships and financial support to different categories of students.

This is to ease payment of school fees by indigent but brilliant students, and the physically challenged in the University.

Recall that the increment in the fees led to breakdown of law and other in the institution and students were sent home for almost three months.

Many students dropped out from the university following the 500 percent increase in the new fees introduced by the university authorities in April this year.

Before the increment, the students pay tuition of N35, 000 but the governing council headed by a Human Right Activist, Dr Tunji Abayomi, shot it up to about N200,000.

The new fee regime indicated that fresh students in the Faculties of Arts and Education are to start paying -N150,000 while returning Students pay-N120,000, Faculties of Science, Agriculture, Social and Management, Sciences- Fresh Students-N180, 000, returning Students-N150, 000

Others include Faculty of Law- Fresh Students-N200,000, returning Students-N150, 000.

The students population was put are about 19,000.

Students’ Support Centre

Newsmen gathered that the gesture was to ease payment of school fees by indigent but brilliant students, and the physically challenged in the University.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Igbekele Ajibefun, who spoke with Newsmen said:

“Under the arrangement, the University pays 50 per cent of the school fees of all physically-challenged students in the University while they pay the balance. No fewer than 30 physically challenged students have so far benefited.

“With the new increase in fees, the University Governing Council had approved some palliatives to make it easy for students to cope with payment. One of such schemes is the loan scheme.

“We also have scholarship, expansion of the Work-Study Scheme, and many others.

“An office called the Student Support Unit was created under the Vice Chancellor’s Office, and a Coordinator has been appointed to run the office.

“The forms are out, and we are starting with the physically-challenged students and a form has been designed for them.

“Another support for students is the provision of scholarships for brilliant students as is done all over the world. There will be criteria to determine who benefits from the scheme, but I can tell you that the main criterion will be academic performance.

“A committee has been set up to attend to all that has to do with student loans, scholarship and so on. It will come up with the criteria for selecting beneficiaries for the available support schemes.

“But more importantly is that we want to attend to our students who are physically challenged and we are assuring them that all physically-challenged students will benefit from the scheme.

“We already know them as we have all of them in one hostel. But for other categories of students, their benefitting from the scheme depends on meeting the criteria.

“For the scholarship, there will be a minimum standard to be met, while the loans scheme will be for indigent but very bright students who cannot afford their fees. They must have in good academic standing to get the loans.

“And with the establishment of the office and constitution of the Committee to make recommendations, I think the University has commenced the promised support schemes.

“The Student Support Unit will coordinate issuance of forms, process submitted forms, verify the authenticity of claims, and the Committee will make recommendations for approval.

“The best students in every Department with CGPA in the first class range would get scholarship at the end of the academic session.”

Meanwhile, Prof. Ajibefun hinted that funding has continued “to remain a huge challenge to the University.

This is understandably so in view of the general financial dire straits confronting the nation.

“Paucity of funds has sorely hobbled the University’s ability to meet the responsibility of salary payment, funding of research, infrastructural development as well as running the University.

“In the thick of these challenges, however, the University has adopted strategic and creative methods to keep it going.”

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