This chapter presents background information on the topic, “Academic Facility User Fees and its Impact on University Students”. It also contains the statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, limitations and delimitations of the study and organisation of the study. 1.1 Background of the study
User fees are paid for the use of any public services and facilities (en.wikipedia.org). At the federal level in the US, there is a charge for walking to the top of the Statue of Liberty, to drive into many National parks, and to use particular services of the Library of Congress (en.wikipedia.org). States may charge tolls for driving on highways or impose a fee on those who camp in state parks. Communities usually have entrance fees for public swimming pools and meters for parking on local streets. In international development, user fees refer to a system fees for basic health care, education, and/or other services which a developing country implements in order to make up for the costs of these services. The International Monetary Fund often recommends that nations start charging fees for these services in order to reduce their budget deficits. 1.2 The Case in Ghana
Higher education was traditionally free of charge in Ghanaian universities. Qualified students were also entitled to free board, and free lodging. Funding is the most serious challenge faced by higher education in Ghana today. In 2000, the approved recurrent budget for universities covered less than 56 percent of the universities’ requirements. However, polytechnic institutes received considerable support from the government, and their budgets were increased from covering 30 percent of their estimated costs in 1998 to 50 percent in 2000. This increase, however, was insufficient, and the problem of funding for both universities and polytechnics institutes remains significant. Nearly 20 years of structural adjustment programming at the macro-level (1982 to 2001) have resulted in a mixed menu of reforms in the system and processes of university education. Universities in Ghana have been challenged both internally by their own publics and externally by governments and communities to address these critical issues: expanding access with equity; quality and relevance; knowledge production and its application to the problems facing society; sustainable funding and resource management (Manuh, 2006).The universities have singularly, or in concert, adopted different strategies and measures to expand enrolment, generate additional funding and review curricula and modes of operation in an attempt to respond to these challenges(Manuh, 2006). 1.3 Statement of the Problem
The policy environment within which the universities operate has been defined in a number of documents, including the 1992 Constitution of the Republic, Vision 2020 and the sector-wide strategic plan of the Ministry of Education. The 1992 Constitution enshrines the right to education in Article25 as follows: •basic education is free, compulsory and available to all; •secondary education, including technical, vocational education and training, is to be generally available and accessible and will be progressively made free; •higher education is also ‘equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity’ and will be progressively made free; •functional literacy is to be encouraged and intensified This article sounds student friendly, but are the clauses impacting on university students? How come many university students or their parents are saddled with financial strains due to payment of AFUF in addition to tuition fees? The intent for this research is to ascertain the effects the payment of AFUF has on the university student. 1.4 Purpose of the Study
Generally the study seeks to determine the impacts payment of AFUF has on university students. Specifically, the study seeks to: •Assess the AFUF policy of the University of Education,...