Universities Allow Students To Register, Even With Debt

Universities such as the University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape are allowing students to register even though they have historic debt. Usually, students need to have paid a fraction of their debt before they're allowed to register. This has been at the centre of the recent protests.

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The University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) are allowing students to register even with historic debt.

Even though students are allowed to register, their debt still stands and needs to be paid nonetheless.

Babalwa Ngonyama, Chair from the UCT Council told CapeTalk:

With immediate effect the student registration fee block in respect of 2020 debt will be lifted for South African students and students from the rest of Africa. This applies to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, excluding students from the UCT Graduate School of Business. The lifting of the fee block does not extinguish the existing debt.

At UCT, the student registration fee block is said to be lifted for South African students and students from the rest of Africa.

This is for both undergrad and postgrad students but does not apply for students from the UCT Graduate School of Business.

UCT is making R30 million available for student debt appeals and is calling for Government to get involved when it comes to the student debt crisis.

Ngonyama explains, "The funding crisis is a national crisis. No university can solve it on its own – the higher education sector urgently needs intervention from the South African government."

On the other side of Cape Town, UWC, even with R400 million of historical debt, has allowed students to register and has even been used as a positive example by the South African Union of Students (SAUS).

Students will not have to pay a registration fee but it is added to their account. They will then need to tell the University what their plan for paying is in mid-April.

Spokesperson for the University, Gasant Abarder, told eNCA:

The University decided to financially clear all students, including those students who have outstanding debt and especially first years. We realised that it's quite late in the year to be starting the academic year and we don't want to lose any more time.

Senior students will also be allowed to register but have to sign an acknowledgement of debt.

Usually, students would have to pay a specific amount of their historic debt before they can register. This has been the cause of many protests, both in the past and right now. Students are protesting to demand that students with historic debt be allowed to register and for this historic debt to be wiped.

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