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Reading the fine-print is a must while making any registrations in universities, says Indian expat Lal Bhatia Image Credit: For illustrative purposes only

Dubai: Parents have been urged to read the fine-print when paying registration fees to universities during tuition discount offers as they will be bound by the attached terms and conditions.

A Dubai parent, who wanted to share his experience, said the university where his son had applied declined to refund around Dh3,200 in registration fees even though he lost his job and the family is repatriating to India. Lal Bhatia said his son never enrolled or attended class in the private university, located in Dubai. Bhatia, who was working in sales for 20 years at a retail operator, added that he had been verbally told that he would get a refund in case he could not follow through with enrolment as a result of losing his job.

Lal Bhatia

However, the receipt document of the fees and the acceptance offer letter say the registration fees are non-refundable. Bhatia said the university should have honoured “the verbal assurance” to refund the fees.“It’s not like we decided to go to a different university and just wanted our money back. I lost my job in the pandemic-related restructuring and we are going back to our home country. I had clearly told the university about my situation, that I’m on forced leave and could lose my job soon. They told me I would get a refund in that case,” claims Bhatia.

“They had called me several times saying I should sign up and pay registration fees quickly because there were only two days left to avail a special discount offer on tuition fees. I took a bank loan to pay the registration fees and told the university I would need this money back if I lost my job, which is what happened eventually. My requests for the refund since June have fallen on deaf ears.The amount is not small, especially when you’re jobless.”

Universities often run recruitment promotions during which they offer discounts on tuition fees, provided parents pay the registration fees and the applicant receives an acceptance. The policy on refunds on both registration fees and tuition fees vary from university to university, and are mentioned on their documents and websites.

Mohammed Darwish

Mohammad Darwish, CEO of Permits and Compliance at Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority, said: “Students are clearly informed of all fees and financial obligations prior to enrollment in a higher education programme."

He said, "It’s important to understand these obligations and work towards honouring financial commitments agreed upon. Our role is to ensure students are provided with high-quality education choices that meet our strategic needs and ensure these courses operate to the highest quality standards.”