Rorisang Kgosana
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
19 Sep 2016
11:25 am

No fee increase for Nsfas students in 2017 – Nzimande

Rorisang Kgosana

The minister of higher education and training announced on Monday morning that those who could afford higher fees should bear the brunt of costs.

Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande during his statement on fee increments, 19 September 2017, Pretoia. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande has announced that university fees for 2017 will not increase for National Student Financial Aid Scheme- (Nsfas)-qualifying students and “missing middle” students on Monday morning.

He also made it clear that no fee increase should be more than 8%.

“Missing middle” students are those who are classified as “too rich” to qualify for government support, but “too poor” to afford tuition fees.

“We are going to cover both Nsfas students and the missing middle,” said Nzimande.

“Our universities currently face serious difficulties with regard to funding.”

The minister says although he understands the “legitimate” cause of those who are against fee increases, he insists that those who can afford to pay, need to pay.

“Our immediate responsibility is to ensure that the universities need to remain viable. We understand the legitimate concerns of the students with regard to the university fees.

“I received recommendations from university council. All Nsfas-qualifying students will experience no fee increment.”

The minister said “the one-size-fits-all approach” would not work and would leave higher institutions of learning in financial crisis.

Newly elected Wits SRC president Kefentse Mkhari said students “will act” should Nzimande announce any increase in fees.

“Our demands are clear – the realisation of a free, decolonised and quality education as well as a moratorium on fee increments up until the implementation of free education,” the SRC said in a statement.

“We cannot protest every year for a moratorium; there needs to be a greater structural solution to the crisis that is higher education … merely freezing fees for another year will not open up access.

“We could not afford the fees in 2015, and we still cannot afford them today, hence a call to free education.”

– Additional reporting by ANA