Proposed 8% hike will help needy students says SU

2016-09-19 22:25
(Supplied by Stellenbosch University)

(Supplied by Stellenbosch University)

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Johannesburg - An 8% fee hike will allow Stellenbosch University (SU) to help financially needy students, vice-chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers said on Monday. 

“The increase in income will assist SU to continue providing bursaries to financially needy, academically deserving students. Our financial aid to students comprises more than 50% of our total annual income from student fees."

SU’s proposed budget would be adapted and prepared for consideration and approval by council. 

The institution proposed a, "differentiated bursary model". Financial help would be provided according to a sliding scale aligned with the annual household income of a student’s family.

This meant that next year, students with a household income of below R122 000 per year, would get National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding to include an 8% increase.

"SU believes that the additional government support and its already existing bursary model, amounting to R658 million, will cover the vast majority of the so-called 'missing middle' students," he said.  

Meanwhile NMMU acting rector Dr Sibongile Muthwa said the institution noted government’s recognition of the financial strain universities were under as a result of last year’s decision not to increase fees for the current academic year.

"It is further encouraged by government’s stance towards improving access to post-school education and that this 'immediate and pressing' task should not eat away at the financial stability of the sector."

Missing middle

Muthwa welcomed government’s commitment to mobilise public and private sector financial support. This would develop a funding support model for poor and “missing middle” students that would be tested in 2017.

The Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) called the government’s decision a balanced approach that would ensure stability at tertiary institutions.

Fedusa general secretary Dennis George congratulated Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande for applying “collective wisdom” and taking cognizance of recommendations by affiliated unions.

Nzimande said while universities in the country could increase fees for 2017, the increase could not exceed 8%.

Meanwhile Wits University and University of Cape Town students earlier threatened to shut down the institutions, rejecting Nzimande's announcement. 

The SA Students’ Congress called on students to let universities decide what they would do about their increases before shutting down campuses with protests.

Read more on:    university of stellenbosch  |  cape town  |  education  |  university fees

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