Dubai: Higher education students are feeling the pinch as some universities and colleges are raising their tuition fees in light of the global economic crisis.

Students from various universities and colleges claimed that tuition fees at UAE higher education institutions are rising annually with some universities increasing the fees by double. Rafiullah Bashiri, a dentistry student at Ajman University of Science and Technology (AUST), commented: "Nowadays everybody is talking about recession but one has to point out that the university fees in the UAE have increased this year without any reason."

Thamer Saeed Salman, Vice-President of Administrative and Financial Affairs at AUST, said it was not until 2005 that AUST began to moderately increase the tuition fees.

American University of Sharjah chancellor Dr. Peter Heath revealed that tuition will increase by 12 per cent next year, bringing tuition to Dh73,000 per annum.

Manipal University director Dr. B. Ramjee said that from its inception in the UAE, tuition was increased only once in 2007.

Professor M. Badr Abu Al Ela, Director of the Commission for Academic Accreditation at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, said the ministry did not impose any restrictions on what a university could charge.

"The only thing we monitor is that the institution complies with its own regulations and whatever has been announced to students or published at the time of first enrolment.

"If institutions say they have a right to increase fees by five per cent and students accept then they should not complain," said Abu Al Ela.