KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Malaya’s (UM) students have once again called for the university to abolish its last-minute implementation of the “zero-balance policy” due to the limited time given to them to apply for a seven-week grace period for tuition fees.
Universiti Malaya Students Union (UMSU) president Nur Nazirah Abdullah said she feared students might lose their “active student” status before the registration deadline of Oct 5.
“In order to qualify for a postponement on their tuition fee payment to week seven of the semester, students need to apply and prove their family income falls under the B40 category.
“How can they do that with such limited time? The deadline is on Oct 5. For those who don’t get it approved within the deadline, how are they going to activate their student status and enrol?
“Therefore, we urge UM to abolish this zero-balance policy and maintain the previous system,” Nazirah said during a protest held by students at the university.
On Sept 19, UM said fewer than 4% of students would be affected by UM’s zero-balance policy, which requires students to settle their fees in full to activate their status for new course registrations.
The university added that students who require financial aid would be allowed to register for classes, but they must settle their tuition fees before the seventh week of the first semester.
Two days later, UMSU called for the university to abolish the policy as they said 4% is still a large number as the university has many undergraduates.
Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya International Students Association (Umisa) president Ali Tayyassar Razi said the university had neglected the welfare of international students on this issue.
“Their announcement did not address international students as UM said the exemption would be given on a case-by-case basis but that it would only apply to local students.
“Why are international students not being addressed by the university at all?”
Ali also said the zero-balance policy has serious implications for poorer international students as it was difficult for them to fork out large sums for tuition fees in such a short period of time.