Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr. Blade Nzimande has released a statement recently that will affect students and their support systems as it includes a proposed increase in both tuition fees and accommodation.
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has released this statement which can be read in full here as a PDF. Titled “Statement On Progress In The Post School Education And Training Sector In Response To Covid-19 Epidemic – Lockdown Level One And Towards The End Of The Academic Year 2020”, it touches on many aspects of higher education in this year of the pandemic.
The relevant part of the long statement, however, can be found below:
“I have written to all university Councils with a proposal for a CPI-linked fee increase for 2021. This would be 4.7% on tuition fees and 6.7% on accommodation fees, in line with previous years. I am awaiting the response of university councils on this matter,” Nzimande writes.
As Nzimande and the DHET waits for this reply there is no date given for when this change will come into effect. That being said, in October of this year, Nzimande specifically said that tuition and accommodation costs would remain the same until March 2021.
Should the DHET and the universities agree on this issue we may see the increases happen after March 2021. That is unless students – and their student representative councils – can challenge it.
When looking at tuition fee increases it’s worth considering some very interesting information release by governmental body Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) earlier this year.
In its findings in October Stats SA reported that “Universities depend more on government for funding”. Here it was shown that, on average, 48 percent of university revenue comes from government grants.
Tuition, on the other hand, only accounts for 33 percent. While these are averages and differ by institution, it is telling that students are continually asked to pay more for their education while universities receive so much funding from the government.
[Image CC 2.0 The South African Government]