Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande briefed the media today on his recommendations on the 2017 fees adjustments for universities and technical and vocational education and training colleges.
Here are some of the most important points:
- Universities would decide on fee increases for 2017. The increase could not be more than 8%. Nzimande said an agreement was reached with vice-chancellors and council chairpersons.
- Poor students and the “missing middle” would have no fee increase. The government would subsidise the shortfall.
- Where would the money come from? Nzimande said he did not know. “I am not the minister of finance,” he said.
- Who is the “missing middle”? Those whose household income is less than R600 000 a year constitute the missing middle. The missing middle refers to students who are deemed too rich to qualify for government support, but too poor to afford tuition fees
- According to Nzimande, fees went up by 6% this year. “It is incorrect to say they did not go up; the government just footed the bill,” he said.
- Nzimande said the authority to raise fees rested with university councils and not the higher education ministry.
- From R42 billion in 2015-2016 financial year, the budget was set to rise to R55.3 billion in 2018-2019, Nzimande said