Cost-Sharing and Students’ Affordability of Fees at Selected Public Colleges of Education

  • Betty K Zulu
  • Tomaida Milingo Kaulule The University of Zambia
Keywords: Affordability, Cost-sharing, Government grants, User fees.


The study investigates Cost-Sharing at Public Colleges of Education as a mechanism being implemented to respond to diminishing government funds. Specifically, the study sought to establish students’ affordability in the era of Cost-sharing and reduced government funding. An Embedded mixed method design was used in which qualitative data played a supplementary role to quantitative data. Inferential statistics was used to analyse quantitative data. The study sample consisted of 248 respondents. Key findings of the study indicated that user fees were not affordable to students at the two colleges and that students faced difficulties in paying fees promptly and more students had challenges in financing for their living expenses. Poor socio-economic status especially low-income level was the major constraint on students’ affordability. Therefore, the challenge of affordability had been compounded by the lack of financial aid to students at public colleges. Henceforth students’ affordability could be realised if there was a reform to the tertiary education-financing framework that was backed by sustained political will coupled with sustainable resources. The study recommended to Ministry of General Education that it should consider: introducing a funding formula based on unit cost and extending students’ loans to needy students at public colleges.