UFS to increase its fees by 8%

2016-12-07 22:24
The University of the Freestate (Andre Damons, Netwerk24)

The University of the Freestate (Andre Damons, Netwerk24)

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Bloemfontein - Tuition and residential fees at the University of the Free State will increase by 8% next year, the institution said on Wednesday.

"The university management is aware of the economic realities in South Africa, as well as the financial pressure households are experiencing," acting vice chancellor and rector Professor Nicky Morgan said in a statement.

However, the long-term financial sustainability of the university, as well as the financial constraints which impact teaching and learning, research and community service continued to remain of utmost importance to the university's council, he said.

Morgan said the decision was made in line with Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande's recommendations with the understanding that the increase would be paid for by the department by means of the fee adjustment grant for qualifying students with a combined family income of not more than R600 000 per annum.

Morgan said the average fees per programme at the university were "in almost all instances" the lowest when measured against the fees of comparable universities.

This would still be the case in 2017, even with the 8% increase.

Possibility of protests

"The university management stated its pro-poor approach to student funding on several occasions; also that academically deserving students from poor and working class families should receive substantial financial support," he said.

Student representative council (SRC) presidents from both the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa campuses were present and had participated in the discussion on the fee increase, Morgan said.

Earlier this week the University of the Witwatersrand also announced that it would be increasing fees by the recommended 8%.

Spokesperson Shirona Patel said on Monday that it was providing financial help for 22 000 out of 37 000 students. It was facing a R56.5m deficit, despite the 8% fee increase.

"It is unsustainable to continue with a 0% increase. The insourcing that will start from the 1st of January already costs the university an additional R100m to R120m," she said.

She said the institution had tried its best to cut non-academic budgets, such as support services.

Despite this SRC president Kefentse Mkhari rejected the increase and vowed to mobilise students to protest against it in January.  

Read more on:    university of free state  |  bloemfontein  |  university fees

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