Due to alarming increase in arrears of tuition and fees amounting to at least US$1m, the University of Liberia (UL) has set April 30, 2021 as deadline for all students to complete payment of tuition and fees or risk being dropped from the UL – Eportal system. Students who will still be noncompliant as of May 1, 2021 will not be considered current students.

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, meaning undergraduate students are required to pay (only) their registration fees, while students in graduate or professional schools must pay their tuition and fees.

The decision to enforce the payment of fees and tuition was announced Wednesday, April 21, 2021 when the President of University of Liberia Rev. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., addressed a live press conference from his Capitol Hill Campus.

During the press conference, Dr. Nelson stressed 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 applauded the National Undergraduate Tuition Free Policy instituted by His Excellency President George Manneh Weah in 2018, noting 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 said.

However, he said, due to the increase in arrears of tuition and fees at all programs during last semester amounting to about One Million United States Dollars, 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 declared.

According to the UL President, this policy should have taken effect during the last academic semester, but was deferred to this semester to allow for more publicity. However, he observed that this semester, the non-payment rate has further heightened.

“Therefore, the University has set April 30, 2021 as DEADLINE for all students to complete payment of tuition and fees. The registration started on February 1, 2021 and the ninety days will elapse on April 30, 2021,” Dr. Nelson continued.

Additionally, Dr. Nelson cautioned 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 said.

“If you try to disrupt the system and we catch you, we will remove our ID number from you, and you will not be a student of the university for some time until we decide otherwise,” Dr. Nelson added.

He called on student leaders to ensure that their advocacy should be based on objectivity, challenging students to pay the money so that the university can improve all the facilities.