By Farah Al Saati
LAU Tribune staff
Although no email has been sent to warn students about it, LAU fees will increase significantly during the upcoming academic year –plus or minus five percent depending on the major.
The move comes after a comparable increase this past year.
For example, during the academic year 2010-2011, the tuition fees for the business school undergraduate program were set at 6,900 dollars for 12 or more credits. The tuition is now 7,040 dollars and next year will reach 7,400 by next year.
“This is not acceptable! I have been bearing the increase of LAU fees ever since I joined it in fall 2009,” Mira S., a finance student at LAU, said as she shook her foot nervously. “I mean really, the last increase is like 500 dollars!”
The increase has been discreetly announced on the LAU tuition page.
Naji Medlej, D.E.A. and Comptroller of Beirut campus, explained that tuition fees at LAU increase due to the raise in the services rates. “You have to cope with cost increase, to keep up with the high level of technology, software, and maintenance and professors’ salaries,” Medlej said.
He noted that the only source of income for LAU is tuition.
Dalia Fleihan is in her third year at LAU and she’s majoring in industrial engineering. She understands that LAU is a large institution and has many expenses to cover but still thinks the tuition is too high.
“It is unacceptable to increase the fees since all Lebanese people are suffering from the bad economic situation,” Fleihan explained.
The cost of one semester for biology majors is now 7,070 dollars for 12 to 18 credits –almost a 10 percent increase since the year 2010.
What’s notable is that, while tuition increased for both new and returning students in all majors, the school of medicine and the school of nursing stand as an exception. The fees remain the same for returning students from the past three years.
Biology major Nour Al-Khatib considers that this increase in tuition overloads students. “Most people cannot bear such an increase. Personally I was really shocked because it increased a lot. Beyond normal,” Al-Khatib commented angrily.
She believes that this raise will make her think twice before she decides to pursue graduate education at LAU. “My parents cannot bear the tuition alone. I should help as well, which will affect my study time,” she explained.
Medlej explained that universities like LAU, AUB and USJ deliver high quality education, which costs money. “Students pay for that,” he said.
Arine Baghdoyan, a Radio/TV/Film junior, is indeed satisfied with the education she gets at the communication arts department. She still doesn’t agree with tuition increase. “LAU is already the most expensive university in Lebanon,” she said.
Students have already been buzzing about the issue online. After the new tuition list came out last week, a Facebook page titled “NO! To the Rise of LAU Tuition Fees” was created. Two days after it took shape, the page had already 40 likes.
On the page, the admin posted a picture that says “what you think I’m made of money?” The first comment was mocking. A girl whose name is Maya Khairallah wrote “Actually most LAU students do LOL.”
Amer Homaissi, the Facebook page founder, is confused. “With the rise in tuition, there will be an estimated eight-million-dollar increase in income [for LAU]. How can this be explainable?” he asked. “There are only a couple of good universities in Lebanon, and the only good ones…all cost a lot. This of course, in turn, damages education in Lebanon.”
Homaissi called for more compassion. “LAU, as a ‘non-profit’ organization should play its role in supporting Lebanon’s education,” he urged.