Students sue 2 Lebanese universities over tuition hike amid crisis
In comments to Al-Fanar Media, administrators at the Lebanese American University said the university was forced to adjust its tuition fees to preserve its financial viability and maintain its high educational standards. They pointed out that tuition fees are the main source of income for the university to pursue its academic mission.
The university said it has increased its financial aid budget from $ 50 million to $ 80 million, providing financial aid to 75 percent of its students. Students were also asked to ask for help or a petition for more help.
The university said it sought an out-of-court settlement with the students who filed suit, but to no avail.
“As a result, the university was forced to cancel the talks amicably and asked the court to render judgment in these cases,” the management said. “LAU has now had no choice but to firmly enforce its applicable rules and regulations in order to preserve its financial viability and ability to survive.”
At the American University of Beirut, students said they were threatened with unsubscribing until payments were cleared.
“We tried to open a negotiation channel through the student council, but it didn’t work because they [administrators] were unwilling to negotiate, ”said Jad Hani, an economics student at AUB. “Instead, they threatened to abandon us if the payment deadline was missed.”
“We understand that the university must adapt to the economic crisis in order to maintain its operations. But AUB and LAU are the best funded universities in terms of endowments and grants and they are the only ones in Lebanon to have increased their tuition fees. It does not make sense.”
“We hope to reach a fair settlement and rely on the judiciary to protect and defend our rights,” Hani added.
Administrators at the American University of Beirut had not responded to a request for comment at the time of this article’s publication.