The real cost of university education in Ghana that you miss in your financial preparation
What has been your most recent purchase? Do you believe you got value for money? High cost of financing and the cedi’s fluctuation against international currencies has been cited by many small-scale importers as one of their numerous problems.
Without any regulatory interventions, they easily shift the burden unto retailers and consumers in order to stay afloat in business. The cost of living in the cities and other parts of the country has become relatively expensive for many, and the situation isn’t different on university campuses in Ghana.
Most of our tertiary institutions are on break at the moment and this has been quite comforting to the pockets that pay. Costing for university life can be very stressful on the pockets. Cost of tuition, accommodation, clothes, food stationery, and contingencies are some of the many you spend on as a student of tertiary education in Ghana.
Costs may vary from student to student as lifestyles, tastes and preferences, academic appetite and acumen are not same for all. However, on monthly basis the basic needs of a student in any of the universities in Ghana would largely remain the same.
- Tuition may seem like the highest cost a person will incur while earning a degree. It is usually a very large figure and scary if you attend a private university. It is always in thousands of Ghana cedis and there is always a deadline within which it must be paid. There is no mercy when it comes to paying for your tuition. The price of quality education in Ghana is high at all levels and not all can pay the price at a go.
It is even more expensive at the university level and so some pay in installments. Delayed or late payments in some tertiary institutions attract penalties on monies they are already struggling to pay. In a public university, you’d be looking at GHc1,500 for regular students and between GHc6,000-GHc10,000 for fee-paying students, depending on the academic program offered.
- University Accommodation
Hostels are vast and vary in affordability depending on location, facilities available in the hostel as well as the competition among providers of hostels for students. A hostel in a perceived posh place will be much higher than an ordinary place.
Every university campus has some of those places where it is deemed for the affluent. These areas have not only expensive rooms but also expensive food and water. They are like the boulevards of a monopoly game.
These locations may come with extra space in their rooms, indoor bathhouses and kitchen, television and cable TV like DSTV. In an area where there is real competition between housing facilities because of abundance of options, there may be high class living for cheap. A regular private hostel on university campus in Ghana costs about GHc1,600 per annum and about GHc2,500 for luxurious facilities. By the way, accommodation in Ghana in general is quite expensive, especially in Accra and other cities.
This is the real canker in the system. How many times does the average student eat in a day? Certainly not less than two. Breakfast before class, snacks during class, lunch break, eating after close of day, and late night snacking. I am sure for others the list could be longer. Food is what gives energy, boost intelligence, immune functions and all. Students eat every day, every time, and everywhere.
The hunger that can hit after a two-hour reading session, hunger pangs when they pass by the kebab seller and even more frustrating hunger pangs from food being cooked in the room next to you. The life of a student cannot be centered on the learning without the food. It is certainly the most important cost to count. So you’re looking at nothing less than GHc12 per day for average meals.
It baffles me how so many university students, females to be precise can afford expensive Brazilian hair for weaves. The natural hair wave may have blown but with it comes to oils to buy, shampoos, conditioners and a host of hair care products. A female student on campus will change her hair at least twice in a four month semester without fail. Guys visit the barbershop more often, at least once a month.
Clothes for females come cheaper, however with door to door salespersons with good second hand clothing. Guys on the other hand pay a lot for good quality shoes and clothes. The shoes of the season keep changing and guys don’t like to be left behind, Jordans, Nike roshes, Addidas releases, New balances, then the classic oxfords are not in any way cheap. By the end of the semester, ladies and gents both spend nothing less than GHc1,000 on this expense line alone.
- Social media
Next to food is social media. Smartphones phones are now relatively affordable than a few years ago, at least if you’re not buying it a day or two after it is released.
It is no longer enough to have an Android device but it is key be active on at least three major apps: Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram. For the socially acclimated student, Twitter, Snapchat, Telegram and imo are also necessities. All these boil down to purchasing a good enough data bundle which bring us back to our student budget for the semester. Information sharing is hardly done by sms or phone calls anymore and this makes social media and messaging apps a necessity on campus.
It is hence important to make room for internet cost when budgeting for university education in Ghana. I believe it is the case in Kenya, Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Not often do you find some hostels, faculties and/or departments providing free internet by way of wifi on campus. Not even in the best universities in Ghana. So you must budget for yours.
There may be other expenses overlooked here but this is definitely the starter pack for anyone pursuing a university education on any campus. Perhaps, Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education as well as University authorities would look at these ‘other costs’ of university education in Ghana and step down the tuition fees- the portion within their control.
Students could also take up jobs and entrepreneurial activities on and off-campus in an attempt to help their financial sponsors.