The University of Free state (UFS) says its 2017 tuition and housing fees would be increased by eight per cent as was permitted by the Education and Training Minister, Blade Nzimande.
Announcing its plan for a new fee ahead of next year’s learning session, the council said the fee increase was with the understanding that the government would pay the fee adjustment grant for qualifying students with a combined family income of not more than R600,000.
UFS council further noted that the average fees per programme at the UFS were in almost all instances the lowest compared with those of other universities. He said this would remain so in 2017, even after the eight percent tuition fee increase.
“The council of the University of the Free State (UFS) approved the institution’s budget for 2017 during its quarterly meeting on Friday 2 December 2016, which was held on the Bloemfontein campus. A general increase of eight percent in tuition fees and eight percent in housing and residence fees were also approved,” UFS said in a statement.
UFS acting vice-chancellor and rector, Nicky Morgan also said the university management is aware of the economic realities in the country, as well as the financial pressure households are experiencing.
The long-term financial sustainability of the UFS, as well as the financial constraints that impact teaching and learning, research, and community service, continue to remain of utmost importance to the council, Morgan said in a statement.
The increases were approved with the understanding that the government would pay the fee adjustment grant for qualifying students with a combined family income of not more than R600,000.
“The university management stated its pro-poor approach to student funding on several occasions; also that academically deserving students from poor and working-class families should receive substantial financial support”.
“For this reason — also because it does not place a burden on poor and working-class families — an increase in tuition fees aligned with the Department of Higher Education and Training proposal was submitted to council for approval. The presidents of the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa campus student representative councils were present and participated in the discussion on fees — also when council approved the increase.” Morgan said.
This announcement came after Wits University announced its fees increase for 2017 in line with the recommendations made by Nzimande in September.
Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said the decision on the fee increase was recommended by management and the financial committee of the university and approved by council after consultation with the elected student representative council.