Nzimande announces fee increases of no more than 8%

BY JESICA SLABBERT - SEPTEMBER 19, 2016

On Monday morning, the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, announced that there would be no fees increase for NSFAS students, and other students would have an increase of no more than 8%.

Nzimande said that it would be up to universities themselves to determine what their level of fees increase would be, but that going any higher than the recommended 8% would be ill-advised.

He cautioned universities that the increases need to keep affordability in mind for the students and that they are reasonable and related to inflation when calculating the adjustments.

Nzimande also spoke about the ‘missing middle’ that have been brought up in many meetings with university leaders and Vice-Chancellors, who do not fall into the NSFAS grant, but are also struggling to fund their education.

“To ensure that such inflation linked fee adjustments on the 2015 fee baseline are affordable to financially needy students, government is committing to finding the resources to support children of all poor, working and middle class families,” he said.

“All NSFAS qualifying students as well as the so-called ‘missing middle’ will experience a no-fees increase in 2017. Government will pay for the fee adjustments.”

Although the figure is still to be determined, Nzimande believes that at least 70% of undergraduate students in all universities, who belong to the ‘missing middle’ will benefit from this decision.

The actual budget for this is still being decided and will be announced by the Minister of Finance at a later date. But a rough work of the budget has come up with the amount of R2.56 billion, in collaboration with STATS SA and the National Treasury.