Student representatives from the National University of Mongolia (NUM) issued a complaint about tuition surcharge during a press conference on Monday.
Head of the NUM Student Union B.Khosbayar stated, “NUM students didn’t hold a demonstration to demand money from the state or have tuition fees reduced. We’re protesting against the tuition surcharge we have to pay every year even though we don’t know what it’s used for and to protect our rights. School tuition is the most pressing issue for students and their parents. Yet, we have to pay an additional surcharge of over 100,000 MNT [on top of credit fee] every semester.”
B.Khosbayar added that students’ demands that NUM authorities report on the spending of surcharge, which has been charged since 2011, have been ignored. Students demanded to see a detailed report on the spending instead of a broad explanation that it is used to “improve learning environment, build new library, provide information technology and student-aimed services, and issuing wages for janitors and guards.”
According to B.Khosbayar, NUM hasn’t made substantial changes for students as stated by the school board directors.
NUM reportedly charged more than 3.28 million MNT for the academic year 2014-2015 from each student on average, 3.47 million MNT in 2015-2016, and 3.18 million MNT in 2016-2017.
“We want the university to discuss all forms of spending related to the decoration, maintenance and equipment procurement with students in the future,” a student said at the press conference.
They also demanded to see a detailed report on the spending of their tuition surcharge and promised to continue protesting until their demands are met.
A working group was assigned by the NUM board on January 31 to determine if the surcharge is legal, following a notice from the National Audit Office. The working group is headed by Deputy Chairman of the NUM Board Council D.Erdenechimeg and includes Head of the NUM Student Union B.Khosbayar.
NUM reported that the university accumulated 3.3 billion MNT in 2016 through surcharge fees, and that with an additional 1.4 billion MNT, the university financed the construction of a new library, provided information technology and student-aimed services, and paid for other operational costs.