Universities Open For New Academic Year

Thousands of university students are getting ready to tackle the 2018 academic year as public universities open their doors for learning. 

Universities Open For New Academic Year

This year, universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges will see an increase in the number of first-year students following the free education announcement by President Jacob Zuma for poor and working class South African undergraduate students. 

Starting this year, qualifying students in their first year of study at public universities and TVET colleges will benefit from fully subsidised free higher education and training. 

Making the announcement in December 2017, President Zuma said free education – for students from homes with a combined annual income of up to R350 000 -- will be introduced in a phased-in approach over a period of five years. 

He said that the policy intervention will enable government to extend fully subsidised free higher education to youth from well over 90% of South African households. 

“From 2018 onwards, eligible South African children of the unemployed, social grant recipients, South Africans earning below the minimum wage, domestic workers, farm workers, mine workers and entry level civil servants such as teachers, nurses, policemen, municipal workers, security guards, refuse collectors and informal traders, amongst others, will now access public universities and TVET colleges for free through grants provided by government,” President Zuma said in a statement issued at the time. 

The President also announced that there will be no tuition fee increment for students from households earning up to R600 000 a year during the 2018 academic year. 

National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) packages already allocated to existing NSFAS students in their further years of study will be converted from loans to 100% grants, effective immediately. 

191 000 students eligible for NSFAS grant 

During a recent meeting, where Higher Education and Training Minister Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize hosted education stakeholders, NSFAS CEO Steven Zwane announced that about 191 000 students are eligible for the NSFAS grant in the category of diplomas and certificates to be done via TVET colleges. 

At the meeting, Zwane also assured Minister Mkhize that 80 0000 university students would be funded, and 250 000 TVET students would be funded.

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