Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) has been under criticism for its sudden surge in fee structure. The alumni association has initiated an online petition against the university and asked them to cut down its tuition fee by 10%.

LUMS Students and Alumni Action Committee (LSAAC) began this petition in their efforts to curtail the spike in fee and asked the university administration to maintain it at 2015-16 benchmarks.

This petition kicked off from an online platform as LUMS alumni named Muhammed Zain Qasmi laid the foundation of LSAAC. Currently, it has managed to sign up 800 supporters in favor of this decision. The working mechanism of this online forum is to send a letter to the parties mentioned in the petition once the landmark of 1000 signatures is crossed.

The rationale behind the petition

The quantum of fee hike is considered sudden and uncalled for as the tuition fee per semester has been increased to Rs. 272,400/- for fall 2016-17 versus Rs. 252,000/- last year. The petitioners are demanding that this fee to remain stagnant at the level in which the students were enrolled. Their demand suggests that the university should however raise the tuition fee for newly enrolled students but keep this level unchanged throughout their four year degree program.

The petition quotes:

“The cost of attendance has been raised by almost 10 percent all of a sudden. There exists no policy to challenge this hike as LUMS maintains tuition and fees are subject to change without notice”

The core rationale of this online petition is to convince the management of the university to understand that students with humble financial background find it almost impossible to bear this burden once they face sudden rise in fees. The man behind the initiative, Zain Qasmi while talking to media stated:

“Increasing tuition fees in the middle of the degree programme puts an unforeseeable burden on students and their parents”

He also highlighted that a large number of students in LUMS are studying on self-financed basis which makes most of them vulnerable to these sudden changes. The petition also quotes:

“Even though the LUMS hails itself as a non-profit organization, it earns millions of rupees in endowments and donations. These are used to fund university’s expansionist plans rather than keeping down the cost of attendance”

LUMS Stance

The Vice Chancellor of LUMS, Sohail Naqvi defending the university’s stance stated that it grants admission to many students in its degree programme who cannot afford to pay the tuition fee by taking advantage of its financial aid.

He also mentioned that the university was not aided by the government in terms of financial assistance. He said:

“It is a not-for-profit institution. The tuition revenue only partially pays for the operational expenses. All new projects such as the Law School and student hostels are paid for from private donations”

The Chancellor mentioned that the university is committed to provide high quality education at most affordable price and the price hike is 8% and not 10% as stated in the online petition.