By Innocent Anguyo
The Makerere University Council, the institution’s supreme governing organ has endorsed a new fee of sh10, 000 that will be paid by each student joining in the 2014/2015 academic year.
Named Endowment Fees, the amount is part of the new fees structure that was passed by the University Council on February 19. It will be paid once in an academic year. This fee will not affect continuing students.
All students who will join Makerere University after the 2014/2015 academic year will pay the fees. Makerere University has admitted about 23,000 students for various undergraduate courses for the new academic year that starts on August 16. It is further expected to add over a thousand students for postgraduate courses.
If all the admitted students eventually register, the university could get at least sh250m through endowment fees. This money will grow as new students join in the subsequent academic years.
This money will go to the Makerere University Endowment Fund, recently launched by the institution’s chancellor Prof Mondo Kagonyera. The Makerere Council recently approved the establishment of the Fund and the board to steer it.
The Board of Trustees, Makerere University Endowment Fund is headed by renowned corporate business manager Dr. Martin Jerome Okec Aliker. All the members are Makerere alumni.
Other members include Barnabas Tumusingize of Sebalu & Lule Advocates; Grace Isabirye, the former acting director of NSSF; Martin Owiny, a former board member of KCB; Ambassador Edith Ssempala; Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga and Makerere Vice Chancellor Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu.
At the launch of the Endowment Fund, Kagonyera said it would help the institution to diversify its source of revenue and not depend entirely on tuition fees and government allocations.
The purpose of the Endowment Fund is to mobilize resources from Makerere alumni and well-wishers, to diversify the institution’s constrained resource base.
Then noting that most of the problems at Makerere were anchored on money (or lack of it), Kagonyera noted that the establishment of a body to seek alternative source of financing for the university was long overdue.
Kagonyera said in great universities all over the world, finances have been greatly helped by endowment funds, citing an example of Harvard that has such a resource granary to the tune of $38b.
Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu said by establishing the Fund, Makerere has taken a bold step to walk the talk of becoming financially independent.
On top of the fees from students, the Fund will be initially operationalized using the existing endowment fund (880,000 British Pounds) managed by Crown Agents in the UK.