Stellenbosch University SRC rejects proposed 8% fee increase

2017-10-20 17:14
Stellenbosch University. (Photo: Stellenbosch University)

Stellenbosch University. (Photo: Stellenbosch University)

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Cape Town – The Stellenbosch University Student Representative Council (SRC) has rejected a proposed 8% student fee increase at the institution, saying that such an increase will perpetuate exclusion.  

At a student meeting on Thursday, SRC chairperson Lwando Nkamisa suggested that the university introduce a differential student fee model instead.

He proposed that bursaries be restructured so that students coming from households earning below R122 000 per annum be exempted from paying fees.

Students from households earning between R122 000 per annum and R600 000 per annum, also known as 'missing middle' households, should pay decreased fees.

READ: Call for Zuma to urgently release Fees Commission report

Nkamisa told News24 on Friday that the SRC could not allow the university's fee proposal to go through unchallenged.

"This is not about being difficult. This is about protecting the poorest of the poor and keeping the doors of higher learning open to all."

He said the SRC was not planning mass student mobilisation against the university because exams start on Tuesday.

Stellenbosch University was criticised in September when it announced an 8% fee increase before the release of President Jacob Zuma's Fee Commission report.

READ MORE: Stellenbosch University set its sights on 8% fee hike

In addition to an 8% fee increase across the board, the university proposed a 9.2% student accommodation increase and an 8% increase in meal quotas in residences.

The Higher Education Transformation Network (HETN) called the university's fee announcement "premature and provocative."

"[Stellenbosch University is] cautioned not to again spark another student revolt similar to 2015 by arrogantly and unilaterally raising fees without any consultation outside the policy guidance of the state," HETN spokesperson Sibongile Malinga said in a statement at the time.

Nkamisa agreed and said the proposed increase was in violation of a national White Paper on Higher Education and National Development Plan because it limited access to education.

In an email to students, Nkamisa said it could "no longer be business as usual" when some students were forced to "sleep in offices and bathrooms because they cannot afford accommodation."

He said the SRC supported free higher education and would meet with key roleplayers in the university's council to reject the proposed budget.

Nkamisa said a meeting with the university's chief operating officer, Professor Stan du Plessis, was scheduled with the SRC on Monday to discuss the proposed increase.

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Read more on:    stellenbosch university  |  education  |  university fees

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