SA Student Debt Figure Stands At R14 Billion

Student debt in the country amounts to billions of rands. This student debt is also behind students not having their certificates and being in limbo after finishing University.


Around South Africa, students are calling for student debt to be written off and has also been the centre of many protests recently and in previous years.

Some students are left in limbo as a result of having no access to their qualification and they need this to apply for jobs. It's ironic as students need to use their certificates to find a job so that they can make money to pay back student debt but some universities withhold their certificates.

However, the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, has said that students' certificates should not be withheld.

Universities South Africa CEO, Professor Ahmed Bawa, said:

Each university has some system in place to make the results available to an employer.

On why some Universities withhold student information, Bawa has said, "From the universities point of view, it is the only hold that they have on students to get the students to pay their debt."

He recommends a low interest loan system where students start paying their debt back once they start working. Another option he put forward could be that students will receive their graduation certificate when they start working and signed a loan agreement.

The current debt of students in the system comes to between R6 billion and R7 billion. The total student debt in the country, including those who have already graduated, then comes to around R14 billion.

The Minister said that over R10 billion was owed by the students over the past 10 years and that more than 100 000 students were unable to get their qualifications from at least 21 of South Africa's 26 public universities because of student debt.

There's a need for a national solution to this issue, said the Professor. Banks need to be involved in the conversation as well.


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