University Students Consider Selling Kidneys to Cover School Costs

Five students studying at Brawijaya University’s Faculty of Social and Political sciences have offered to sell their kidneys in a desperate attempt to pay for their school costs and continue their studies.

Protesting outside of the rector’s office on Tuesday, the students, who were part of a group of 30 other demonstrators, hatched their scheme after their request for a delayed payment plan was rejected by the university.

Psychology student Megawati and Devi Pratiwi, who studies political science, were among the five trying to sell their organs to cover a Rp 1.8 million ($167) tuition fee and a Rp 8 million facility fee.

Megawati said that she has already sold a cell phone and a laptop to help settle her outstanding debts. Meanwhile, her parents, who hawk coconuts in Lamongan, East Java, have not been able to secure enough loans to cover the costs.

“My request for a delayed payment was granted at first, but the financial office at the university rejected the acceptance note. They said the university is already dealing with Rp 12 billion in outstanding payments from students,” she said.

The financial office suggested that she borrow money from Bank Mandiri, despite the deadline for the payments being Aug. 23. Nonetheless, Megawati considered the advance a bad option given the high interest rates for non-educational loans.

“It was a business capital loan to be taken out by my parents for only Rp 2 million,” said Megawati.

Devi, a student in her third semester, is in the same boat as Megawati.

Though she hasn’t revealed her plan to her parents, she said that she has independently researched the effects of losing a kidney.

“I am ready to live with only one kidney. What matters to me is continuing my studies,” she said.

Protest coordinator Ahmad Saifudin Zuhri said that the school’s provost and rector are in Bangkok and are set to return on Friday.

“We will build tents and ask other friends to join us,” he said.

Susantinah Rahayu, the university’s head of public relations, said that she does not believe that the five students will go through with their plan, though she declined to comment on their demands.

“Any decision will have to wait for the return of the dean and rector. But we can’t forbid the students to strike — it’s their right,” she said.