By Fayia A. Fayia
It has pleased His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio to eliminate the payment of fees for university application forms starting September 2018/2019 academic year.
His Excellency the President has directed that Government pays for the application forms estimated at *Le 5.6 billion (FIVE BILLION SIX HUNDRED MILLION LEONES).* The total number of targeted beneficiaries is *15,000 students*, applying to the University of Sierra Leone (including Fourah Bay College, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences and Institute for Public Administration and Management), Njala University, Milton Margai College of Education and Technology, Eastern Polytechnic, Freetown Teachers College, University of Makeni, Ernest Bai Koroma University and Bonthe Technical College.
The refunds will be provided through the Institutions listed above, after a full verification of total number of applicants and amount paid by each applicant. On receipt of funds from Government, the Institutions will refund the same amount to all those who bought application forms for September 2018/2019 academic year.
His Excellency the President believes that at time when he inherited an economy that is near collapse, the cost of application forms for university admission is a burden for many parents, guardians and relatives supporting young people to access higher education. Eliminating an estimated *Le 5.6 billion* for the payment of university application fees will not only be huge savings for parents, guardians and relatives but also it will increase access to higher education for young people.