Students Of A Local University Are Demanding To Know Why Their Convo Fees Are So Expensive

A petition launched by the students has received more than 2,500 signatures to date.

Cover image via Asia Pacific University/Edited by SAYS

Soon-to-be graduates of Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) have launched a petition demanding that officials explain the "too high" fee of RM820 (RM300 refundable deposit) for its on-campus convocation ceremony

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The petition was launched on Sunday, 28 October with an original target of 200 signatures.

It has since gained over 2,600 signatures at the time of writing.

Students are upset that the fee remains virtually unchanged from previous years, despite a change of venue from a hotel to on-campus

"The main reason for this petition is because previous convocations was [sic] priced around RM900.00 were all held at the Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel," the petition read.

"This high price was 'justified', because of the venue cost the university had to cover. The convocation was held in the hotel because [Asia Pacific University]'s main campus at the time could not accommodate the number of students.

"However, the upcoming convocation is to be held at APU's new campus, but with only RM100.00 reduction in fees."

In the petition, user "Student from UC3F1706 APU" - who launched the petition - gave examples of other universities who have held on-campus convocations at lower costs

While APU's graduation microsite has three fee structures available, petitioners have highlighted the cost of bringing two guests along as the main point of contention. 

A graduate who wants to bring two guests along will need to pay RM820 (RM300 refundable deposit) for robes, stage photographs, and buffet refreshments.

For two guests, the other universities listed in the petition supposedly offered much cheaper fees for their on-campus convocations:
- International Medical University (IMU) at RM400,
- Taylor's University with a rate between RM320 to RM410,
- UCSI University at RM620.00 (RM300.00 refundable deposit), and
- INTI International University at RM680.00 (RM400.00 refundable deposit).

In a statement to SAYS, Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology (APIIT) Education Group vice president of operations Gurpardeep Singh said the fee is "lower than what it has been for more than the last eight years"

"[T]here were persistent complaints of our traditional venue such as the environment being very cramped, finger foods, long waiting times for family photography, inability to bring additional guests beyond two due to restricted spaces, high parking charges at the hotel etc," he wrote.

"We therefore worked towards holding the graduation ceremony on campus, and the charges also were reduced accordingly. In fact, a reduction of a total of RM110 for the graduate package which represents a reduction of 17% due to the savings of not using an external venue. Everything else remains the same, so the savings have already been passed down to the students."

Gurpardeep also explained that students are now allowed to bring unlimited guests with a fee of RM40 per head, something which couldn't be done previously unless there was availability.

"So guests 3, 4, 5, etc can join in at RM40 instead of RM120. They have access to all refreshments, food, etc which cost substantially higher than RM40. Only difference is that they will view the ceremony from a different auditorium through live feed of the event."

Additionally, Gurpardeep said it was "not fair" to make comparisons with other institutions as "their provisions may be different"

"We are aware of some just catering for light snacks such as sandwiches and coffee/tea. The cost of catering between this basic provision and full lunch buffet type meals is hugely different," he explained.

After thriving very hard to ensure student satisfaction for the three to four years students have been with APU, there is absolutely no intention to sour this at their last formal experience with us at their Graduation.
APIIT Education Group vice president of operations Gurpardeep Singh

"We will communicate with the students involved to address their concerns. It is the intention of APU to show its best to our graduating students and their parents."

In 2016, we asked local graduates from various universities about the cost of their ceremonies:

Graduations are a big deal for many people. Need some ideas to make it a memorable one?

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