University of Pretoria faces pushback over registration fee hike proposal

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The SRC recently said that, had the institution consulted it when making the decision, it would have raised the registration fee hike as a “matter of concern”. Photo: wikimediacommons
The SRC recently said that, had the institution consulted it when making the decision, it would have raised the registration fee hike as a “matter of concern”. Photo: wikimediacommons


The student representative council (SRC) at the University of Pretoria has rejected the institution’s proposed registration fee hike next year, calling it “harmful”.

The council is “committed to fighting for students” should the university forge ahead with its plans.

The SRC recently said that, had the institution consulted it when making the decision, it would have raised the registration fee hike as a “matter of concern”.

However, spokesperson for the university Rikus Delport said the SRC was consulted when the increase was discussed and agreed to in October 2021.

“The SRC will engage with the university management, after which feedback will be provided to students.” The statement read: 

Further action may be necessary, depending on the outcome of the engagements.

The SRC’s secretary, Tarika Lalla, told City Press on Wednesday that the SRC was still in the process of establishing a way forward.

The fee increment was announced by the director of finance, Naeem Moola, in a communiqué to students on Saturday. In the communiqué, Moola said the registration fee for undergraduate students would increase from R5 000 to R7 500, and from R7 500 to R10 000 for postgraduate students.

International undergraduate students would now be expected to pay R40 000, and international postgraduate students would pay 50% of the total fees for the year.

“The University of Pretoria has not increased the first payment, which is generally due at registration each year and which forms part of the annual tuition fee, since 2016. This was done to assist students who have been experiencing financial difficulties. The increase was further delayed in 2020, 2021 and 2022 owing to the pandemic and the economic hardships experienced by students,” said Moola.

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However, the SRC said the university still received its full fees for all those academic years from most of the students.

“Furthermore, the reality is that the majority of students and their families faced greater economic difficulty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the institution still received tuition fees and state subsidies,” it said.

“Working-class families and middle-class families were the worst affected – the very families who will be worst affected by the registration fee increments. Hence, the answer to the economic difficulties faced by the university cannot [be to] impose further difficulty on these families.”

Moola also announced a registration fee hike for 2024, when undergraduate students would need to pay R10 000 to register and postgraduate students would have to pay R12 500.

“Thereafter, all increases will be limited to the allowed annual tuition fee increase, taking into account the compact on a consumer price index increase with the department of higher education. It is important to note that the first payment forms part of the total annual fee payable and is not in addition to the annual fee.”

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At a media briefing in February, Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande announced that the department had proposed an increase of 4.23% for tuition fees and a maximum of 6.23% for accommodation fees for universities in this academic year.

Nzimande said that while universities were still working on a fee regulatory policy framework, it was not sustainable to keep fees lower than the inflation fee increases.

“Fee increases are necessitated by obvious factors, including the increase in workers’ wages and staff salaries; increase in electricity and water tariffs; rising food prices; books and learning materials; and generally the rise in inflation,” said Nzimande at the time.


Bongekile Macupe  

Senior Education Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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