Ricochet News

Doesn't make sense to have fee increases when students are struggling: DASO

Nov 8, 2017
Doesn't make sense to have fee increases when students are struggling: DASO

Over the years, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has been constantly grossly underfunded and this has meant that more students who qualify for funding are excluded, according Hlomela Bucwa - Democratic Alliance Students’ Organisation (DASO) Eastern Cape Constituency Leader.

"As a result, thousands of students around campuses are currently writing exams with no hope of receiving their end of the year results or being able to register for the 2018 academic year due to historic debts," she said.

"DASO is aware that institutions have started dialogues to discuss fee increments which range between 6% and 10%. In the immediate term, DASO will reject any rampant fee increments for the poor and missing middle.

"While we understand the need for universities to increase fees because of inflation and underfunding, we do not believe that poor and missing middle students should have to pay for them. The state must provide for these increases as they have done in the past two years."

Bucwa said that DASO believes that fee increases by tertiary institutions to plug a funding shortfall will only serve to exclude poor students and missing middle students and ultimately set them up for failure due as they will not be afford tertiary fees.

"Tertiary institutions need financial assistance from the African National Congress (ANC) government, who have caused this crisis due to chronic underfunding of the sector. It, therefore, does not make sense to continue increasing fees for students, who are evidently struggling to pay the prevailing fees," she added.

"DASO, through its DA representatives in Parliament, will write to the Portfolio of Higher Education in this regard to help save and enable the dreams of those who have been excluded by the ANC national government.

"We will further engage with all institutions to ensure that no student is left behind and that the scenes of the last January intake, where students were forced to return home, does not repeat itself in January 2018."