Welcome back and thank you!
September 18, 2020
Dear faculty, staff and students,
As the first official week of classes comes to an end, we welcome you back with a deep sense of appreciation for so many remarkable achievements during this unforgettable summer. You have redesigned courses, kept your scholarship alive, and likely worked double-time with no days off. You have shared your expertise in forums such as LUMS Live, which reached thousands of people each week putting a spotlight on topics and concerns that have been at the forefront in our society. Pedagogical training sessions have enhanced learning and teaching, university-wide committees have produced recommendations and protocols that have kept us healthy and safe and critical working groups have prepared us for the fall semester. Thank you for contributing to the COVID-19 campaign to support the disadvantaged during the height of the pandemic. We are also congratulate all students, faculty and staff who made the virtual convocation and O-week a runaway success.
The pandemic however, will continue to test us to go beyond the call of duty. During these extraordinary times our actions will set new standards to re-envision and integrate research and teaching for a more holistic understanding of scholarship that will strengthen LUMS long into the future. We congratulate all of our Department Heads, Directors and Deans – many of who were recently appointed – for their determination and clarity of purpose to meet unforeseen challenges as caretakers and problem solvers.
Our recent experience has also revealed critical issues that have lied dormant for too long such as sexual harassment, inequities in access to education and financial sustainability. We have asked difficult questions and openly discussed ways forward with the unified purpose of strengthening LUMS. We have cut budgets significantly but continued to implement strategic priorities including two summer semesters and centres of Academic Advising, Accessibility and Inclusion, the Learning Institute, Continuing Education, and more. We have also managed to keep our salaries budget for all faculty and staff, as well as our financial aid program intact.
The summer has been like no other – just as the fall portends to be – for everyone. There is no doubt that together we can navigate through challenging situations. Let’s start this semester by taking the time to thank the teachers that go out of their way to mentor colleagues and care for their students; staff members who work quietly behind the scenes; and students who give strength to their friends in need. Our values of hard work, integrity and empathy are on full display. We are proud of all that you have been able to do and overcome together and we wish you a successful term ahead.
Tariq Jadoon, Vice-Provost
Farhat Haq, Provost
Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor
LUMS Health & Safety
September 11, 2020
Dear Faculty and Staff,
Please find attached the latest versions of following important guiding documents prepared by the Health and Safety Committee:
Update on the Campus Opening and Other questions
August 28, 2020
We are excited to welcome you to mark a new year at LUMS. We recognize that your experience this semester will be extraordinary as we all adjust to new circumstances as a virtual community of learners. We ask returning students to take extra care of incoming students from across Pakistan as they transition into this important stage of their lives. A complete schedule of orientation activities will be shared on the LUMS website next week.
We hope this note will address several questions and concerns that have been raised on a range of issues, including the most frequently asked question about opening the campus. For additional context about this issue, we strongly encourage you to read Why We Are Doing What We Are Doing by Dr. Ali Khan, Dean MGSHSS as well as The Twists and Turns of COVID-19 by Dr. Samia Altaf, Director of Health and Safety. Highlights of a town hall held on August 21, are covered in To Open or Not To Open… That is the Question and a related story on Prioritizing Health, Safety and Student Learning.
Please find responses to the most frequently asked questions below. You will undoubtedly have additional related questions and we ask you to seek out other venues listed below for more information.
Thank you and we look forward to a new semester with you.
Dr. Arshad Ahmad, VC
Dr. Farhat Haq, Provost
Dr. Tariq, Jadoon, Vice-Provost
The Fall Semester
1. When does the semester begin?
The Fall semester will begin on September 15 (instead of Sept 7).
2. Will students be allowed to stay on campus? If so how many?
Up to approximately 150 students will be invited to stay on campus during the first round of reopening. Priority will be given to students who have critical needs such as lack of access to connectivity, or are in financial distress, and other difficult or exceptional circumstances including the need to access labs.
3. What are the SOP’s for staying on Campus?
Everyone, including students, who will be on campus will have to abide by new protocols and SOP’s. An extensive list of protocols and SOP’s will be sent to the students in advance. All campus residents, critical faculty and staff will also have a chance to provide input to these, hopefully by the end of next week. These protocols and SOP’s presents an opportunity to make changes in our behaviours by taking care of each other. We will be self-monitor and implement these for a trial 3 week period to determine whether they are manageable. This will be a very critical trial period that will determine whether additional students can be invited into hostels and whether we can increase the number of critical staff and faculty.
4. How will classes be taught?
All classes will be taught online in the Fall semester.
5. When will financial aid and fee decisions be communicated?
Financial aid information and fee cards will be sent to all students by September 1st. Students typically have a window of 2 weeks to submit their fees but this will be extended to 4 weeks.
6. Will The NOP stipend continue as before?
NOP students will continue to receive a stipend.
7. Will there be changes in how courses are taught?
Instructors have invested a lot of time in preparing online content, reworking course outlines, and adjusting assessments to recognize student workloads and constraints imposed at home. Some of the changes have already been implemented in summer courses taken by over 1,400 students. Over 24 recommendations from the Teaching, Research and Scheduling Committee that aim to enhance the student learning experience are currently being discussed for implementation. Also, more instructional support in the form of TA’s and RA’s have been made available.
8. Will the Pass/NC policy remain?
The Fall semester policy for Pass/NC will continue; however, students should be aware of possible adverse consequences and limits imposed by graduate schools in selecting applicants as well as fulfilling HEC requirements. There will be a limit imposed on the number of Pass/NC which will be communicated to all students; however, for now we are recommending to use this option in exceptional circumstances.
9. Can we expect the same conditions as above in the Spring semester?
Our goal is to open the campus to all students, gradually over time and we will continue to closely monitor conditions on the ground and communicate any changes as they become clear.
10. Where can I get more information on other related questions?
Where applicable, please make your inquiries to the following Centers and Offices including
Student Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org),
The Registrar’s Office (email@example.com),
Academic Advising (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Financial Affairs (email@example.com),
Accessibility and Inclusion (firstname.lastname@example.org)
International Affairs (email@example.com)
Student Body Concerns And Demands
July 16, 2020
In response to an email from a student
Thank you for taking the time to write this note which makes several good points. There are however, other points that you have raised that focus on a small piece of a much larger picture. Let me begin by responding to specific questions you have asked.
The Fee Decrease is not enough
While this is certainly worth discussing, all of us must consider the question of fees by understanding the university’s financial model. Simply stated, the financial model must sustain priorities which make LUMS unique and world class. These priorities include a commitment to provide significant financial aid to one out of three students at LUMS (including the NOP program); to retain our most valuable assets – our faculty and staff – to serve you; and to invest in infrastructure and facilities that all of our 5 Schools require.
Yes, we can cut fees further, but to do so, other priorities will be affected. For example, by charging less fees, should we counterbalance by giving less financial aid? This is a defining priority considering over 1 billion rupees were distributed last year. Or, is it prudent to lay off permanent faculty and staff? Or, is this the time to stop investing in safety measures for the tens of millions invested in our infrastructure, or for that matter invest in the new digital boards, a production studio, software and resources required to retrain our staff and faculty to work online? These are examples of competing priorities that are impacted by decreasing tuition and fees.
Furthermore, each of the Schools require ongoing infrastructure investments even when the campus is shut. Take SSE for example, which is the most resource intensive School. If we stop reinvesting in state-of-the-art labs, start-up-grants, chemicals, consumables, materials, supplies and ongoing safety and maintenance, this will result in irreparable damage post-COVID that someone will have to pay for. What about access to licensed software such as Matlab, which is shared by all SSE students, or the Math Department's High-Performance Computing Centre which is one of the country's most well-resourced computing clusters. These investments cater to the learning, teaching and research needs of many across all Schools at LUMS.
These examples of resource-intensive overhead explain why additional “lab fees” are paid by science students. However, calling these “lab fees” represent a “SSE fee” or “science fee” that is commonplace in top Universities worldwide. Our new budget does include a reduction in the “SSE fee” and this will be announced in the next fee card.
Moreover, there are 15 other Centres that are in operation including REDC, Office of Accessibility and Inclusion, The Learning Institute, Academic Advising, Program Enhancement, etc, which in these challenging times are essential investments to enhance online learning at LUMS. To summarize, the current budget for LUMS – a not-for-profit institution – aims to break-even with its operations. We have cut our regular budgets drastically but have made provisions to keep our university priorities of financial aid, hiring and infrastructure intact so as to ensure that students get the best quality learning anywhere in Pakistan and beyond.
Other Institutions are cutting fees
The facts suggest otherwise as the majority of universities internationally are not cutting fees. We cannot compare LUMS – a not-for-profit university – with for-profit universities, nor with universities that are much smaller. These are apple/orange comparisons and distract us from the context we find ourselves in at LUMS. Unlike other institutions in Pakistan, we have decentralized all of our budgeting and engaged all Department/Program Heads, Deans and the elected representatives on University Council, which includes students, to ensure transparency, and input from all stakeholders.
Unacceptable Quality of Online Education
We agree that online education can never become a substitute for a rich campus experience. Having said that, the data we have collected from the student body at large suggests that quality has not been severely compromised. Results from 386 student course evaluations which had a 92% response rate, show a mean rating of 4 (on a scale of 1–5) for the instructor (5 questions) as well as course related matters (5 questions). The rating drops for a couple of process-related questions to 3.7 for workload and 3.8 for feedback-related questions. Of course, there is variance amongst courses, and there is no doubt that instructors can do significantly better. And shouldn’t we be investing more to improve learning environments, connectivity and more effective instruction?
Again, thank you for raising the points you did in your email and we hope the response above clarifies these important matters. We also wish to take this opportunity to raise a couple of issues for students in general that have recently come to the fore.
Representing Student Voices & Inappropriate Conduct
Since COVID began, we have listened to students through surveys, discussion forums, town halls and responded openly with regular messaging and live engagement. We noted that representation of the majority of student voices has been problematic as typically 80% of the students do not take part in these discussions. The loudest voices tend to make claims through social media, as well as petitions that aren’t democratic in soliciting input from our diverse student body, nor do they represent the views of elected students representing them in the Student Council. We certainly want to encourage discussion and wish to engage you as true partners in your education. We also want you to continue raising issues. ty.
There are, however, certain types of conduct that we feel are inappropriate. Petitions tend to hinder democratic discourse because they tend to be authored by one or two individuals. Petitions also encourage groupthink, and on many occasions are distributed without the consent of those who have allegedly signed the petition. In addition, social media bashing tends to create false narratives and sensationalist arguments that damage your university and ultimately the value of your degree. Instead, please first consider taking your issues to your elected representatives at the School and/or University Councils and consider more balanced and nuanced arguments on social media.
Tone and Discourse
Using divisive and abusive language, making unfounded claims without examining different views and incessant demands is not reflective of actions consistent with the values of integrity, humility and empathy expected from a LUMS graduate. We are by no means suggesting that you are to blame for this type of conduct, nor do we wish to generalize. However, for the issues that have been recently raised through petitions, town halls and social media, there is a tone of anger and entitlement. There have been a stream of incendiary comments and a lack of humility that does not speak for the majority of LUMS students nor for the educational aspirations we have for each other.
We very much appreciate opening wider channels to learn from each other. Our students are why we exist as one community and one family of learners and why we deeply believe in our mission to serve you. COVID is a once-in-a-lifetime event and our actions and values have become more amplified than ever before. Soon many of you will graduate – a milestone event deserving congratulations and an acknowledgment of achievements, perseverance, courage and excellence. We trust our graduates to continue as our most valuable ambassadors as they join our family of over 14,000 alumni who carry the LUMS name proudly around the world. We look forward to you joining us on July 25th in supporting students and who are graduating.
Thank you once again,
Dr. Arshad Ahmad, VC
Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali, Interim Provost
Dr. Sabieh Anwar, Dean, SSE
Dr. Ali Khan, Dean, HSS
Dr. Jeff Redding, Dean, SAHSOL
Dr. Faisal Bari, Dean, SOE
Dr. Adnan Khan, Dean, OSA
Update on Sexual Harassment Policy
July 14, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff
As promised during a recent Town Hall, I am forwarding the comments I made during the forum. Overall, I believe these reflect several discussions we have had that led to the Town Hall, and speak to the commitment we make as a community at LUMS to move forward on important harassment related issues.
Dr. Arshad Ahmad
Thank you for joining this important forum on harassment that concerns everyone who studies, works and is affiliated with LUMS. I want to preface my remarks by acknowledging that on this significant issue of harassment, we continue to face gaps and challenges in education and in action. I also want to be clear that there is no place for sexual harassment, bullying and coercion at LUMS and we will not tolerate or condone these degrading acts.
While talking about the issues is an important step to raise awareness, we have to keep strengthening our resolve to counter harassment through specific actions. I am therefore proposing specific action items to take immediate effect which I will briefly share and elaborate on. At the end of the day, we must take a long view on harassment which means everyone in the LUMS family must work in solidarity to do their part in helping us to move forward as a community.
In terms of challenges, a lot has been said recently. Inappropriate behaviour towards women has been going on for far too long. Recently, many courageous young women have recounted very difficult and sometimes horrific experiences they have gone through at LUMS. Examples of predatory behaviour have been cited during orientation week and in certain student societies where vulnerable freshmen females have felt exploited. Similar experiences have been recounted in learning situations inside and outside the classroom with TA’s, RA’s, faculty and staff who have been alleged as perpetrators but have not been adequately sanctioned and allowed to continue in their positions. Above all, in spite of the policies and procedures at LUMS, many female survivors point to a culture of harassment at LUMS. I want to acknowledge that it is completely unacceptable for any student to undergo these experiences.
In terms of taking action, several new initiatives are now visible through the central Offices of Accessibility and Inclusion (or OAI), the Office of Wellness, The Office of Counselling, the Office of Advising and the Office of Student Affairs. Except for OSA, most of these offices are fairly new. However, while it is true that many staff and faculty at these Offices are working double duty to deal with these issues, many challenges remain and we must do more.
Based on several suggestions put forth mainly by students, I am announcing the following measures for immediate implementation.
1. First, the relatively new Office of Accessibility and Inclusion will become the focal point through which harassment issues will primarily be dealt with, where campaigns of awareness will originate, where ongoing surveys will be conducted and where mandatory ongoing anti-harassment training for all LUMS employees will take place.
2. Second, we will establish a student-run helpline to work with these offices and receive support for training and help these offices to better understand students’ experience with harassment. All Student Societies are to encourage awareness of harassment policies at LUMS and to follow protocols and support by working with the OAI and other related offices mentioned earlier. Furthermore, self defense training, easy access to personal emergency whistles through the Offices and campus stores are to be implemented as soon as possible.
3. Third, all of the offices, faculty and staff will be sensitized and processes streamlined so they are clearly and unequivocally survivor centric. In addition to protection measures that may be instituted after the filing of a complaint, victims will be offered support and protection from the OAI and all offices from the moment they come forward with a claim.
4. Fourth, security will be regularly reviewed to be more sensitive in striking a balance with student privacy concerns.
5. Fifth, The Sexual Harassment Committee (or SRC) will be expanded given the time intensive nature of the work that needs to be done. Appointments of faculty and staff will be considered and scrutinized by Deans, the Office of the Provost and OAI to promote transparency and female representation. Student’s will be invited into advisory roles and in certain peer-cases where their input and voice is essential.
6. Sixth, disciplinary action against perpetrators will be conveyed on a case by case basis to offices that are implicated so that such individuals are prevented from assuming positions of authority. Vetting of TA’s and RA’s will include past record on harassment and academic integrity. Restraining orders and bans will be followed up with increased diligence so that privileges that are revoked are effectively implemented.
As mentioned earlier, we also require a longer view on how to we must continue to confront and reduce harassment in the context of broader societal and cultural contexts. Harassment is a global issue that plays out in universities around the world where solutions to minimize it are a result of multi-pronged approaches.
In addition to strengthening university structures and processes mentioned, we must ask how else can we deter harassment? How can we devote more time and more attention to raise awareness, so that we can measure progress against harassment that is often invisible to us? How can we create opportunities to learn from mistakes and rehabilitate those who are ignorant and conditioned by the norms that condone the many degrees of harassment?
I hope some of the actions outlined provide a helpful start in today’s discussion. To sum up, what I can tell you with conviction, is that LUMS is committed to continue its reform on sexual harassment policies by working closely with you. We are committed to strengthen the Sexual Harassment Committee and due process by the Disciplinary Committee, provide support to victims when they come forward, conduct sensitivity trainings/workshops for staff and mentors, invest in sexual harassment policy education for incoming students, and take action against/reprimand individuals that abuse their power.
Dr. Arshad Ahmad
June 30, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty, Staff,
Following the announcement of the new fee structure, a number of students and faculty raised concerns regarding the tuition fee for the forthcoming academic year. This note explains in more detail the rationale behind charging fees on a per-credit hour basis, a practice that was followed in the past.
The new system will keep tuition-costs the same for most undergraduate students and rising Juniors, Seniors, Super Seniors will be paying fees based on the old model. This is for their own benefit since they had made course-plans under the old fee structure and did not anticipate this change in fee structure in their final years.
The old fee structure required additional tuition expense for summer courses and 9th/10th semesters, there was financial pressure to complete the degree within 8 spring/fall terms. In the new fee structure (fee charged per CH) taking 9th and 10th semester does not change the overall cost to students of a LUMS degree, it remains roughly the same, irrespective of the number of credits taken in any particular term. This makes summer credits and 9th/10th terms more cost-neutral and therefore more viable. In other words: decisions about how many CHs, and when to take them, can now be based on academic factors without being distorted by financial factors. Fee per CH only impacts short-term payments while the overall cost of the full degree remains approximately the same whether students complete the degree in 7, 8, 9 or 10 semesters.
Accommodations for certain batches
Rising Juniors, Seniors and Super Seniors will retain the old fee structure. Financial assistance for summer or 9th/10th terms is only possible under the new per-credit fee structure. For summer 2021 and onwards per credit tuition fee for these batches of students will remain the same as the new fee structure, but they will not receive financial assistance. Further, we will not withdraw the financial assistance commitment to rising juniors or seniors for Summer Term for this year, 2020. We recommend this one-time exception as we understand that students have already made plans for this year’s Summer term (sessions I and II), 2020.
- Rising Sophomore and incoming First-Year students will be charged according to the new fee system. They will be charged for 130 CHs but allowed 136 CHs (i.e. a cushion of 6 CHs) to allow for some flexibility. Furthermore, students on Financial Assistance will be allowed 140 CHs and be able to apply for financial assistance for up to 145 CHs (i.e. a cushion of 10-15 CHs).
- Current rising sophomores impacted by the pandemic who have used the no credit (NC) option will not face a financial penalty for making up CHs in the future. We will provide an extra cushion of 4 CHs only for current rising sophomores. This means that only for this batch will have 140 CHs or a cushion of 10 CH (FA students will have 144-149 CHs or a cushion of 14-19 CHs).
- Some majors require more than 130 CHs. For Electrical Engineering majors and Chemical Engineering majors 140 CHs are to be allocated for graduation; Law students are allocated 170 CHs on the same five-year fee structure and those on FA will get 175 credits (180 if they apply and are granted FA). Biology requires 131 CHs, but the cushion is already built into the fee system (6 CHs for all students, 10-15 CHs for FA students). Electrical Engineering and Chemical Engineering Majors, who are on FA will get 145 credits (150 if they apply and are granted FA). To reiterate, for these majors as well the provision for FA, students in the new system gives under-resourced students opportunity to access extra CHs.
Historically, the limited course offerings during the summer semester resulted in higher enrolments in fall and spring terms, exacerbating demand for popular courses and preventing many students from enrolling in courses of their choice. The enrolment pressure also resulted in larger class sizes, which impacted on the learning experience.
For the first time, students have the option to take courses in two 4 week summer terms. This means as additional courses are offered including popular courses, students have greater choice in course-selections and a greater chance of getting into their preferred courses. The new fee structure makes summer credits equivalent to credits earned in any other semester. Decisions about how many CHs to take, and when to take them, can now be based on academic factors rather than financial factors which are discussed below.
With the new fee structure, summer courses are eligible for financial support which they weren’t before. Students can now apply for financial assistance for courses they wish to take during the summer making these course options more accessible to more students than before.
In the old fee structure, students paid a flat fee per semester for 12-20 CHs and they paid additional tuition for any courses they took during the summer. Only students who had the ability to pay could take summer courses. Some students felt financial pressure to complete their degree within the regular spring/fall terms since financial assistance was not an option during the summer. For many students, this often led to work overloads during those spring/fall terms.
With the new fee model, the cost-difference between a student who graduates in 9 or more terms (vs. a student who graduates in 8 terms) will only be the semester registration fee (lab fee for SBASSE students is charged for only 8 semesters, so 9th/10th semesters there will be no lab fee and there is no registration fee or lab fee for summer semesters).
Comparison between Old and New Fee Structures
Overall, the average tuition cost of a LUMS degree under the old fee structure was PKR 2,818,925 for graduates from the last three batches (2017-2019, all majors). In the new per-CH fee structure, the average tuition cost of the degree comes out to be PKR 2,807,316. Although the new fee structure may result in variable tuition in a particular semester based on enrolled CHs, the total overall cost of a LUMS degree remains equivalent to the total cost of the degree as under the prior fee structure. Additional details for tuition-fee comparison for the average LUMS graduate of 2017-19 batches are provided in the Report on the student notice board.
In conclusion, both tuition models (pay-per-semester and pay-per-CH) generate comparable tuition costs. This means that on average students will be paying the same tuition in both models. In addition to being more equitable and keeping tuition the same on average – i.e. being ‘cost-neutral’ for the average student – the new fee model expands curricular opportunities and learning experiences for all students.
Please refer to the following address if you have any questions firstname.lastname@example.org or access the FAQs. on the student notice board (along with a detailed Report) that we will upload very soon.
Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor
Kamran Asdar Ali, Interim Provost
Sexual Harassment Policy
June 28, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
Sexual harassment, bullying and coercion are violations of human rights and demean human dignity. These acts are unacceptable and have no place in an environment where we aspire to have safe and healthy learning opportunities for everyone. The LUMS policy on sexual harassment is explicit: We do not tolerate it from any member of the LUMS community – faculty, staff, students and alumni. We must also consider the broader context of these issues in our society where harassment and abuse is oftentimes condoned and where silence on these matters is encouraged. As a leading organization, LUMS must do more to set a good example for our broader communities.
We are committed to confronting and eliminating sexual harassment, bullying and coercion with education and deterrence through both policy and practice. Developing systems that are transparent, fair and inclusive is an on-going process and we will strive to do more at LUMS. The distress that several community members have experienced and expressed thus far make it evident that more needs to be done to make LUMS a better, more inclusive space. This is exactly what we resolve to do today.
I am also extending my full support to every individual and especially women, who experience abuse or offensive behaviour in any form. We acknowledge the courage of women who have spoken out and recognize the enormous challenges in the face of bullying, violence and harassment, including intimidation from perpetrators to remain silent. To endure discomfort or fear in your place of learning or employment is unacceptable; to suffer sexual abuse is intolerable. We commit to enacting the strongest possible measures to ensure a safer and more supportive environment for all at LUMS.
There are many suggestions that students and others are encouraging, including more courses on harassment, staff and faculty training, policy announcements in course outlines and in class, a code of conduct and more. We would like to work together to initiate better changes on our campus, online, and overall in the culture of learning and living within the LUMS family. We encourage students to send recommendations and suggestions directly to the Office of Inclusion and Accessibility (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). We recommit to working with you in bringing about meaningful change and also encourage students to provide feedback through other forums such as the Student Council and other societies including the Feminist Society.
To strengthen the LUMS Sexual Harassment Policy, we want to incorporate more of your feedback and commit to sharing and communicating the revised policy across all relevant forums. We will also continue to respond to calls for more open conversations and to extend those that have already begun in various schools and online groups. In the coming days, we will invite you to attend a virtual Town Hall to continue these critical conversations together.
In the meantime, if you have experienced harassment, we encourage you to reach out to the Sexual Harassment committee for support in filing a complaint or to discuss other options that may be available to you. Rest assured that our student counsellors are also available at all times to support and guide anyone who wishes to move forward on matters that remain unresolved.
We acknowledge that students as well as academic administrators, teaching assistants, and all members of the faculty and staff share the important responsibility for taking prompt action, including notifying the appropriate resource people if they become aware of any conduct that they suspect violates the University's harassment policy. But committees or individuals by themselves do not have all the answers. Eradicating harassment and fostering a respectful environment requires input and continuous commitment from all members of the University community. Now is the time that we need your help to foster a more respectful, harassment-free environment that furthers the educational and professional endeavours of all members of the LUMS community.
Thank you for assisting us to make LUMS a better place.
Dr. Arshad Ahmad
June 25, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
As you may recall, earlier this year, LUMS established The Office of Accessibility and Inclusion (‘OAI’). This move was made in recognition of the fact that despite mottos to the contrary, our campus can often be not-so-inclusive, inaccessible and even hostile for people with disabilities and vulnerable groups who may not appear to be excluded. OAI exists to ensure that people are not just present on campus, but engage in meaningful exchange, and own the campus as theirs irrespective of religion, ethnicity, physical or mental ability, gender, orientation or any other difference. It is our aim to work with all departments and individuals across campus to ensure a peaceful and productive learning and working environment for all.
One of the matters that has over the years needed serious attention now comes under the umbrella of the Office is the Sexual Harassment Inquiry Committee; OAI is responsible for preparing and publicizing the code of conduct relating to sexual harassment for all individuals on campus. We are committed to create an environment free from such behaviour on campus. LUMS affirms the right of every member of the LUMS Community to live, study, and work in an environment that is free from harassment. Behaviour constituting sexual harassment as defined in the TORs and the 2010 Act is incompatible with all recognized standards of professional ethics and with behaviour appropriate to an institution of higher learning.
LUMS has in place a Sexual Harassment Policy which creates an inquiry committee tasked with the responsibility of hearing, investigating and recommending penalties for claims of sexual harassment. The committee comprises of a minimum of three (3) members, at least one (1) of whom will always be a woman. Any correspondence with, hearings before, material shared with the inquiry committee is strictly confidential. Any breach of this confidentiality shall result in disciplinary action.
The Office of Accessibility and Inclusion, and the sexual harassment inquiry committee exists to help and support you. If you have any queries, concerns, or complaints relating to harassment or inclusion, or if you would like to discuss any options, please feel free to email email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to assist you in whatever way we can.
For matters relating to counselling, kindly email email@example.com, or visit this page for more information.
Information on how to file a complaint is available in the attached document.
Office of Accessibility and Inclusion
LUMS Fees Update
May 8, 2020
This note further clarifies a memo sent recently about fees. There has unfortunately been significant misinformation on social media, and it is important to clarify that students at LUMS will not pay any more than what they had committed to pay. In fact, some will actually end up paying less in certain cases explained below. The information below confirms that the 41% increase is a misunderstanding of the new payment structure and unnecessarily feeds into social media sensationalism.
- As a not-for-profit institution that takes pride in the diversity of our student body, LUMS disburses approximately Rs 1 billion in financial aid every year.
- 1 out of 3 students at LUMS receive significant financial aid ranging from 30% to 135% of student tuition.
- We also have about 160 PhD students whose tuition fee is completely waived. They also receive generous monthly stipends.
- Additionally, all women graduate students at the School of Business receive a 50% tuition scholarship.
- All graduate students at the School of Education receive need-based, as well as merit scholarships.
Summer 2020 Fees
The Summer semester course fees are in fact lower by 18%, since the new system charges Rs. 21,300 per credit hour instead of Rs. 26,000. Since students will not be staying in hostels, they will save more. Moreover, while in previous summer semesters, students were not eligible for financial aid, they are eligible now. This will allow them to spread their courses over the year giving them more flexibility. These reductions benefit all students.
Fall 2020 Fees
The 13% inflationary increase that was tentatively scheduled to come into effect in the Fall was based on the pre-COVID circumstances reflecting the State Bank of Pakistan reported inflation numbers. In normal circumstances, we have to make inflation adjustments to ensure we maintain the highest standard of education at par with premier universities across the globe. However, given the COVID-19 crisis, we are already preparing contingency plans in case the campus remains closed, or is partially reopened, and will pass on any savings such as lower utilities bills to our students. In other words, the Fall semester fees will be reassessed in July/August.
New Fee Structure
Like the vast majority of internationally established universities, we are implementing a system that replaces a flat fee each semester with a per-unit charge. This ensures that student fees are proportionate to the number of courses into which they enroll. As mentioned, on average, LUMS students require 130 credit hours (CH) to graduate. Across the 3 major schools (Business, Science & Engineering and Humanities/Social Science), only 7.8% of students take and successfully complete more than 135 credit hours. The burden of the extra courses taken by these students is paid for by the overwhelming majority who do not take course overloads. The new system extinguishes this cross-subsidy so the majority of students are not penalised.
We have gone further: Students presently at LUMS in their final years of study and who may exceed the average credit hours (130 CH) will not pay more than they would have under the new system. They will be accommodated and grandfathered into the new system. In other words, every student is better off. LUMS is committed to its not-for-profit mission; our financial planning is aimed at remaining sustainable, not earning profits.
We hope this note will remove the misunderstanding and misinformation about the university. Our fees are a fraction of many comparable international institutions. Our mission continues to advance educational opportunities in Pakistan and the broader region educationally, economically and socially while remaining globally visible and competitive.
LUMS Fee Structure
May 5, 2020
A number of students and faculty have raised several concerns regarding the tuition fee for the forthcoming academic year. These concerns provide valuable feedback and the need for everyone to be informed. This note offers explanations about the fee structure and the fee increase at LUMS.
Fees are under constant review as they are critical inputs to our regular planning and budgeting for the university. Overall, we are rebalancing the fee structure as explained below. The decisions that led to the recent fee increase and the implications of COVID-19 are also discussed below. Some examples are also presented in an effort to offer clarity and to provide full transparency.
During a pandemic, planning ahead is subject to significant possible changes which is why we will be reassessing the fee structure in late summer.
We seek to always ensure that the interests of students, faculty and staff are reflected in the financial decisions that are made by senior administrators and the trustees of our not-for-profit university. Thank you for your patience and for taking the time to read this note in its entirety.
Student tuition fees have increased each year since the university began its operations over 30 years ago. These increases are a reflection of two factors. First, higher fees recover part of the incremental costs of running university operations and second, they respond to the external economic shocks that are beyond university control. Historically, these annual fee increases have been communicated to students via fee vouchers.
The principal difference this year is a change in the fee structure. We have reverted back to the practice of charging fees on a per credit hour basis, a practice that was followed at LUMS in the past. Importantly, this practice is also common in leading universities worldwide. Fees charged on a per credit hour basis brings balance and neutrality so that the cost does not favour those students who take more courses over those who take fewer courses. Fees charged per credit hour implies that the total cost of a 4 year degree program at LUMS is the same irrespective of whether you take 3, 4, 5 or 6 courses per semester.
This norm was changed in the past where students were charged the same fee per semester for taking 12 credits hours (CH) and did not change if up to 20 CH were taken during the semester. For example, tuition fees for this current academic year were Rs. 28,350 per credit for the first 12 CH and no extra fees were charged if a student took up to 20 CH. In other words, the fee remained the same whether a student took 12 CH or 20 CH.
This “cushion” of being able to take extra courses incentivized some students to take course overloads each term. Many of these students weren’t able to handle these overloads and took more CH’s than were required by their degree programs. The negative impact of course overloads was evident in lower grades for some courses. Overloads also increased stress levels which correlate with mental health issues which have become a major concern across our university.
The former policy has also encouraged an inordinate focus on improving GPA’s as students who did not do well on extra courses repeated them in subsequent terms. In other words, students were repeating courses where they obtained a C- or lower grade which did not cost them extra.
Importantly, while the total fees remain unchanged for students taking overloads, students who take less credits (12 CH) are in effect subsidizing those who take more (20 CH). It is fairer for fees to be charged for the number of CHs taken so that some students do not pay for others who opt for overloads.
In terms of fees charged, the important point is that the new fee structure does not affect the total four-year tuition cost. Given the new fee structure, the overall increase is not the 41 percent calculation that is being cited on various social media forums. According to the new fee structure, if one calculates tuition for 20 CH per semester (overload) then this increase is higher than if a student takes 16 CH. On the other hand, the tuition for the semester decreases if one takes 12 CH per semester (please see the calculations below). This is a much fairer system for all.
As mentioned above, fee increases have occurred each year since the university began its operations. The decision to increase fees for 2020 were made prior to COVID-19 to cover increases in the cost of operations due to external shocks. These shocks took into account extraordinary increases in 2019 that were a result of double-digit inflation, a significant rise in energy costs and a historic currency devaluation. Further, the majority of institutions internationally have increased their fees. Accordingly, the increase determined for 2020 was 13% and not the percentages reported elsewhere. As noted, this fee increase for the Fall of 2020 was made pre-COVID at a time when our annual costs were rapidly increasing. Now we have COVID-19 and we will reassess these fees in the summer, especially if the university does not open its campus.
The new fee structure is now based on Rs. 21,300 per CH. In the short run, a student will benefit if he/she takes less courses (12 CH) and disadvantaged if he/she takes more courses (20 CH). Please note, the majority of students take 16 CH. Some take 12 CH, and some take the overload of 20 CH. The average course load needs to be slightly above 16 CH per semester, which roughly adds up to 130 credits required in four years. Of course, we have some programs that have different credit requirements. Again, the example below explains the semester fees under different scenarios.
It is true that the new structure disincentivizes students from taking 20 CH for the reasons outlined above. Students stand to benefit by taking a normal course load of 16 CH. Furthermore, they can pace their studies by taking courses over the summer. Please note, the summer rate for 2020 is not subject to the fee increase.
The university appreciates that some seniors and super seniors will register for 20 credit hours per semester. The university fully anticipates this and will alleviate any adverse financial impact on them.
There are still unanswered questions regarding how COVID-19 plays out in the fall semester. As indicated in an earlier email to students, we will continue to monitor and adjust the fee structure in the event we have to go fully online in the Fall semester.
Rest assured, as a not-for-profit university, LUMS will continue to provide accessible education to students based solely on merit, irrespective of their financial backgrounds. We welcome and will continue to take your input into consideration. Furthermore, LUMS has committed to provide significant financial support to those who need it most. Last year, one out of three students received financial support.
We hope this note helps to clarify some of the confusion and we look forward to responding to other questions and comments you might have.
Based on last year’s rate: Taking 12 CH (Rs. 32,033 x 12) = Rs. 384,396
12 CH = 12 x Rs. 24,100 =289,200 (Decrease)
16 CH = 16 x Rs. 24,100 = 385,600 (Approximately the Same)
20 CH = 20 x Rs. 24,100 = 482,000 (Increase)
- The cost per credit hour for the first 12 CH = Rs. 28,350. This explains the cost paid before the fee increase to be Rs. 28350 x 12 CH = Rs. 340,200
- Adjusted rate per CH based on external shocks (Rs 28,350 x 13%) = Rs. 32,033
- Based on the new structure without the external shocks increase, the cost per credit hour for 16 CH = Rs. 21,300. So the adjusted rate per CH based on external shocks (Rs 21,300 x 13%) = 24,100
- The university will ensure that final year students (seniors and super seniors) pay for the average cost of 16 credits and waive the fee for extra 4 credits in case they require 20 CH. It is also important to note that summer courses are still based on the pre-inflation rate Rs. 28,350 where 13% has not been applied. This is a significant financial incentive to take summer courses.
LUMS Fees 2020
May 4, 2020
LUMS fees for 2020 were determined before COVID-19 that is entirely consistent with prior years and took into account extraordinary increases in inflation, energy costs and currency devaluation. The increase determined for 2020 was 13% which we will monitor in determining the next fee card.
Furthermore, previously, a per semester blanket fee was being charged for students taking between 12 to 20 credit hours. This fee is now calculated on a per credit hour basis which will increase the semester fees for some and decrease it for others. The important point is that the total fee to meet graduation requirements does not change as a result of the shift to a per credit hour basis. One of the reasons for the shift is to discourage students from taking course overloads which negatively impacts their learning. LUMS fees cover a fraction of the total costs. As a not-for-profit university, gifts from donors, trustees, etc. help to subsidise one out of three students.