Limited space: Universities face thousands of first year queries

Universities across South Africa have been inundated with queries applications for first year. Picture: Paseka Menyau/File
Universities across South Africa have been inundated with queries applications for first year. Picture: Paseka Menyau/File

The beginning of the New Year has seen universities scrambling to keep up with the large number of applications received, with many students bound to be left disappointed as spaces are limited.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) received more than 135 500 applications in 2016 from students wanting to pursue their tertiary education this year, but spaces are limited to less than a tenth of this.

“The planned intake of undergraduate first-year students for 2017 is 10 500. This number of spaces available is in accordance with the formal Enrolment Plan approved by the Department of Higher Education and Training,” said UJ Registrar, Professor Kinta Burger.

At the University of Witwatersrand, walk-in registrations opened today starting with the Faculty of Sciences. Whilst it has the capacity to take in 6 200 first year students, they have received over 69 000 applications.

“Unfortunately we are not accepting late applications.We are advising matriculants who were not able to secure a place to contact the Central Application Clearing House, which was set up by the Department of Higher Education and Training, to assist those who have not been offered a place at the institution to which they have applied,” Wits senior communication officer Buhle Zuma said.

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) orientation and registration is scheduled to take place from February 27 to March 10. Elijah Moholola, Head Media Liaison for UCT, said they had space for 4 200 first-year students.

“Provisional offers were made to eligible applicants late last year. At this stage, about 90% of the final offers have been made following the release of the matric results last week,” Moholola said.

UJ said students that have been accepted for a programme of study should have already received confirmation emails.

But by 9am yesterday morning, the UJ call centre handled more than 36 500 calls, and dealt with 21 000 queries on its MobiSite. Most of the issues dealt with late applications and enquiries as well as changes to an applicant’s course of study.

Meanwhile, some Wits students are still writing deferred exams, after many students missed out on their exams last year as a result of the #FeesMustFall protests.

The university also said it was on high alert ahead of proposed protests which are set to continue this year.

Last year these universities – including the University of the Free State, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University and the North-West University – increased their fees by 8%, much to the anger and dismay of many students across the country.

Avantika Seeth
Multimedia journalist
City Press
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