The University of the Witwatersrand has confirmed its fee increase will be limited to an average of 8% for the 2017 academic year.
Tuition and residence fees will increase by 8% which also applies to international students, the institution said in a statement.
“The only exception is for postgraduate programmes run in the Wits School of Governance, where tuition fees will increase by 9.5%. These increases are in line with the recommendations made by the state in September this year,” the statement reads.
In September, Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande announced that university fees may not exceed an 8% increase in response to mass student protests against fees.
Nzimande also promised that households earning less than R600 000 per annum would not be exposed to university fee increases.
Wits said that it was in a financially constrained position that forced the institution to increase its fees.
“The University has no choice but to increase fees if it is to remain financially sustainable as academics and professional and administrative staff need to be remunerated, books and journals need to be purchased (many in foreign currency), utilities need to be paid and infrastructure needs to be maintained.
“In addition, the University will accommodate the costs of insourcing and the new ICT renewal project from 2017,” the Wits statement said.
Wits said that state support amounted to R146m in terms of supporting a 0% increase.
“However, we have been recently informed that the 2016 fee increase will now be rolled into the subsidy, the net effect of which is that our subsidy increase for 2017 will be only 2.5%. This equates to a net decline in income of approximately R54m for 2017 from the state.”
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) recently announced that students it supported will no longer have to pay registration fees at universities and colleges at the beginning of 2017.
However, Higher Education deputy minister Mduduzi Manana warned that NSFAS not enough students were applying for funding from the institution.
“It’s quite discouraging. Why would students not apply when the window is open for them?” he told Parliament’s higher education committee.
Wits said that it currently assists 22 000 out of 37 000 students with financial aid, but it faced a deficit of R56.5m despite the 8% fee increase.[Source: News24]