‘Save now for school fees’

2011-12-21 00:00

PARENTS would be wise to go easy on Christmas spending as increases in school and tertiary education fees will be a harsh reality come January.

Basic Education Department spokesperson Hope Mokagthle confirmed that schools had presented parents with a copy of their financial statements for the year ahead.

“Parents vote democratically and determine the fees at the [school] annual general meeting.

Fees differ and are set individually by the schools. Parents who were unable to pay school fees informed the school governing body, which considered them for partial or full fee exemption, she said.

SGB Association chairperson Reginald Chiliza cautioned parents to spend wisely this festive season because school fees could increase by up to 10% next year.

He said the budget for each school in KwaZulu-Natal for next year had been discussed with the parents, “so no one can say that they are surprised about the increases come next year”.

“When drafting budgets for schools, we take into account that some parents are unemployed or have been retrenched, but the school expenses also have to be weighed.”

While the excitement and anxiety escalates in the build-up to the matric results so does the prospect of studying further at institutions of higher learning. Parents who plan to pay their children’s tuition fees have to brace themselves for next year’s tertiary fee hikes.

University of KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Nomonde Mbadi said the fees are among the lowest when compared to universities of a similar standing.

“Following extensive discussions with the student leadership it was agreed that an increase of eight percent would be implemented in 2012. The increase takes into consideration a number of factors. These include the university’s requirements, past trends of fee increases at the university and the fee structure at other universities,” she said.

Durban University of Technology’s council has also approved an increase of eight percent for tuition and related fees for 2012. Fees for Durban’s in- house and leased residences will be increased by 10% plus 50% recovery of transport costs.

Unisa spokesperson Doreen Gough said that although fees had been increased, the aim was to keep the increase below the inflation rate.

“Unisa has differentiated fees in favour of science qualifications. Unisa fees are about one-third those of residential institutions,” she said.

National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NFSAS) spokesperson Bonny Feldman advised prospective students who secured financial aid to study hard and graduate.

“ NSFAS has put in place measures to encourage students to work hard and pass their studies. If they do well they could have up to 40% of the loan amount converted into a non-repayable bursary.

But if students did not complete their qualification and had been funded by a loan from NSFAS, they must still repay the loan in full.

“Students begin repaying the loan once they have started working and are earning more than R30 000 per annum,” she said.

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