Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) has defended the planned implementation of residential college fees for its diploma students beginning next month, saying underprivileged students will be exempt from charges.
The university explained that discussions pertaining to the on-campus accommodation charges, ranging from RM2 to RM4 a day depending on the type of room, were first conducted in 2014 following a detailed study.
Aside diploma students, the fees would also apply to pre-diploma, Certified Accounting Technicians and Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Architecture students.
“On-campus residential college charges for Bachelor students were introduced in December 2005. From there, discussions, as well as a detailed study on charging (fees) to diploma students, began in 2014 and the university made the decision to implement the charges at the start of the semester in September 2019.
“Even so, the university is aware there are some UiTM students who come from underprivileged families. Therefore, there are certain groups of students which have been identified and will be accorded exemption from payment,” UiTM vice-chancellor Mohd Azraai Kassim said in a statement today.
According to Azraai, exemptions for students will be based on several categories:
- From families earning below RM2,500 a month and with many dependants;
- From Student Representative Council (MPP);
- From Student Representative Committee (JPK);
- From uniformed bodies;
- Sports students representing the country and recognised by the Youth and Sports Ministry; and
- Students from clubs or associations that excel, represent the country and win in an international-level competition.
Azraai added that the decision to impose such fees were made as funds could go to cover expenses for the maintenance and upgrading of college facilities as well as existing teaching and facilities over 60 years old.
This was due to government allocations to universities being slashed by up to RM500 million since 2017, he said.
The issue of the fees for diploma students came to light after images of the purported university memo on the new charges began circulating online.
The images were even shared by former premier Najib Abdul Razak on his Facebook page yesterday.
Najib had questioned the rationale behind the implementation of the charges.