Public universities have been given permission to increase tuition fees by 4.3% and a 6.3% increase for student accommodation, rather than the requested 5% increase in fees and 7% for hostel fees.
However, the Universities of South Africa have asked for a sustainable solution.
There’s a huge elephant in the room that still needs to be addressed, with R15 billion in outstanding historic debt from students who owe universities.
Annually, this is costing these institutions of higher learning almost a billion rand to service.
If there’s no increment, money will have to be found somewhere else, resulting in universities rearranging their budgets and reprioritizing specific areas to ensure that the financial liquidity of the institutions remains, as universities need to keep afloat.
Universities South Africa Director of Operational Support, Dr. Linda Meyer said:
We need to find a solution for the missing middle students. We need to find solutions where universities are not servicing debt that has been accumulated from students over the years and this is why we're calling for a sustainable solution.
Meyer said that universities are being placed on the back foot due to getting less increments than they asked for.
Around 20% of students who have been noted as missing middle students with a household income ranging between R350 000 and R600 000 are the ones who will be affected most.