The University of Zimbabwe recently caused anger among its students and parents when it hiked fees from around $120 000 to $480 000 ZWL for undergraduate students. Most people have demanded that the new fees be reduced as they were now unaffordable. Some have also argued that while the new fees seem fair, the rate of fees increase to their new levels is not matched by the rate at which salaries have been rising. They pointed out that the University of Zimbabwe was a state-owned institution. This means that while the government has dragged its feet when it comes to raising the salaries of civil servants it too understands that the current levels of inflation require a drastic hike in fees in order to meet the rising costs of running the university.

UZ students are allowed to pay their fees in either US dollars or Zimbabwean dollars (ZWL) at prevailing rates. Even though the gap between black market rates and official rates has narrowed black market rates are still a little higher (between $650 and $750 ZWL per 1 USD). Because of this few students are likely to pay directly in US dollars. Besides the bulk of civil servants still earn a huge chunk of their salaries in ZWL.

What has rankled some is the lack of flexible payment terms. Students are sternly warned to make sure that they pay their fees by 30th September 2022 otherwise they will not be able to participate in lectures. For now, students are only required to pay the equivalent of what they paid in fees for the last semester/term as a deposit. This will allow them to complete registration.

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The structure of the new fees

A breakdown of the new fees as seen in a document sent to current and prospective students.

Item descriptionPriceDiscount %TaxTotal(Inc)
registration fees132000013200
exam fees198000019800
medicalaidfees132000013200
caution fees198000019800
academic fees19800000198000
laboratory fees330000033000
fieldwork fees660000066000
technology fees264000026400
sports fees3960003960
attachment fees660000066000
maintenance fees231000023100
studentunionlevy1980001980
other fees1320001320
Total$485760