Jan 20, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

‘Universities will have to recalibrate their incomes’: proposed tuition fee increase of 4.3%, accommodation 6.3%

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has proposed that South Africa’s 26 universities increase tuition fees by 4.3% and student housing by 6.3% for this year.

Universities SA (USAf), the body representing the Vice-Chancellors, had called for a 5% increase in tuition fees and a 7% increase in lodging fees.

Tuition and lodging fees last year’s increases were 4.7% and 6.7%, respectively.

Confirming that universities were notified of the increases this week, USAf’s CEO said , Prof. Ahmed Bawa that they assumed the department had agreed to the figures of 5% and 7% that the USAf had proposed in previous discussions.

“ Universities will need to recalibrate their incomes for 2022 and this will put pressure on their finances for the year.”

Students, their family egg Those earning over R350,000 per year are likely to be hit hardest by the increases as they will not qualify for a grant from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

< span>Bawa said there is no national system to support students from families earning over R350,000.< /p>

“This is totally unacceptable and one is needed Some sort of national solution to fill that gap, as it too has the potential to systematically marginalize a significant portion of our young people.”

Said Bawa, “It goes against the purpose of Universities in a society of excluding young people from university because they cannot afford higher education.”

The increase in tuition fees and accommodation costs comes as the Ministry of Higher Education decided to Efforts to raise more R10.1 billion to fill the funding shortage el for NSFAS this year.

< p>Bawa said that since announcing NSFAS’ new scholarship program in December 2017, they have expressed concerns about the long-term sustainability of the program.< /span>

“The program represents an exceptional opportunity for poor and working-class students, but it means the state must find a way to ensure that it is is a sustainable model of student funding, which is currently not the case.”

He said they don’t know how the R10.1 billion gap will be filled would.

“Universities face the crisis of a triple cut in revenue due to regulated increases in fee income, cuts in government funding and falls in private sector funding.”

Bawa said it would be disastrous if d The shortfall in NSFAS funding was offset by a further cut in university funding.

Chantel King, the Attorney’s Office shadow minister for higher education, said the existing NSFAS model “is clearly not up to the task of funding the increasing number of students, with the deficit rising to R6.8 billion in 2021.”

She said Nzimande was due to the parliamentary Portfolio accountability. c Committee on Higher Education on how it plans to fund the 10 billion rand deficit.

“He must provide definitive answers on how sustainable the current funding model is.”< /span>

King said that recent years have highlighted how late funding decisions have led to unrest in colleges.

“The Extending the NSFAS application deadline raises unrealistic expectations among freshmen and could lead to similar unrest we’ve seen in the past.”

Meanwhile, Normah Zondo, spokeswoman for the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said it is likely that NSFAS will not be able to help all needy and eligible students and “this will result in desperate students turning to the university for help”.< /p>

She said the university has scholarship partnerships with more than 150 sponsors s business, government and NGOs.

Elijah Moholola, spokesman for the University y of Cape Town, said every effort will be made to raise funds to help financially needy students , “but given the current socio-economic challenges, the magnitude of the projected NSFAS funding deficit places the need well in excess of what the university is likely to muster.” >

Gasant Abarder, spokesman for the University of the Western Cape, said they were following their normal registration procedures and dealing with funding issues on a case-by-case basis.