It should be "springing for", otherwise it is grammatically incorrect.
Meaning: There was no chance my father/husband would pay the costs.
I think you are probably right to assume "fees" refers to tuition, but without context I won't give you a definate yes one that.
The phrase old man is a colloquial term for either a father or a husband and again, only context will help you decide which is referred to here.
Student or Learner