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14 September, 2015 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 September, 2015 12:42:24 AM
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Varsities will charge extra if VAT imposed, fear students

Students want specific guidelines on tuition fees for private universities
HARUN UR RASHID
Varsities will charge extra if VAT imposed, fear students

Though the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has clarified that there is no scope for private universities to increase students’ tuition fees in connection with the imposition of value-added tax (VAT), there is no specific law to determine the fees for individual universities.
Students alleged that the authorities of private universities are charging an additional Tk. 500 to Tk. 1,000 from them during admissions each year. They pointed out that the authorities would take advantage of the opportunity to charge more money under different names if VAT is imposed on them, as the existing Private University Act of 2010 does not specify the tuition fees for students.
According to Provision 42 of the Private University Act, 2010, “Each private university will prepare a consistent student fee structure considering the socio-economic condition of the country for its expenditure and will inform the University Grants Commission (UGC). The commission may provide suggestions, if necessary, on being informed about it.”
But the students said as the law has only mentioned the “socio-economic condition of the country” in relation to tuition fees, it is a vague phrase.
Ahsan Ahmed Anik, a BRAC University student, told The Independent, “Our university charges an additional Tk. 500 as fees during admission every year. As the law did not clarify the phrase ‘socio-economic condition’, the universities get the chance to charge more from us.”
“We don’t know what Provision 42 means. Those who made the law know the explanation, but we don’t know it,” he added.
He further said they are organising their ongoing movement to press for their demand for withdrawal of 7.5 per cent VAT on education. At the same time, they are seeking specific guidelines about the tuition fees for the private university students.
Though the Private University Act, 2010, included six sources of money of the private universities, including students’ tuition fees, grants and donations, but the authorities said they do not have any sources of income other than the tuition fees from the students.
The Association of Non-Government Universities of Bangladesh (ANUB) also believes that there should be a policy on what the tuition fees should be and which are the facilities that students would receive from the universities.
ANUB secretary Mohammad Mosaddek Hussain told The Independent, “The private universities do not get any incentives from the government. They are run fully by the tuition fees. Even though there are other sources of money mentioned in the law, the universities could not create these.”
Asked about the increase in tuition fees every year in the private universities, he said, “It is true that tuition fees increase every year, as the law did not specify anything about it. However, the universities have nothing to do, as expenditure increases every year.”
He also said the government should devise a policy, with specific guidelines about tuition fees and other facilities that students would get. UGC member Prof. Mohammad Mohabbat Khan told The Independent that there is no policy or law about the specific guidelines regarding the tuition fees of the private universities.
“UGC plays no role in determining the tuition fees of the private universities. The law has only said the socio-economic condition of the country has to be considered,” he said.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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