Buzzsouthafrica has comfirmed that there will be an 8% fee increase for all universities in South Africa for the 2018 academic year.
This was announced by Universities South Africa (USAf), an association of the 23 public universities in South Africa, saying that the 2018 University fee increase was in line with the current inflation.
According to a statement released by the association’s spokesperson Mateboho Green, the Universities settled for the 8% fee increase after deep discussions with the Higher Education and Training Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize.
Mabotha also said that the universities also engaged the National Treasury, the presidency and the inter-ministerial committee to find a solution following the release of the Judge Jonathan Heher Commission report on the feasibility of fee-free higher education.
He said the government would make a public announcement on the 2018 University fee increase once discussions had been finalised.
“Universities South Africa is pleased to say that that discussion was very constructive and the minister agreed to make a formal announcement about the decision of the national government in this regard,” said Mateboho.
“As Universities South Africa has previously explained, the higher education price index runs at about 1.7% above the consumer price index because of the particular nature of the basket of expenditures that constitute their budgets.
“And so, the vast majority of the 26 universities have come together to determine that the inflationary income adjustment increase for 2018 will be set at 8%.
“It must be emphasised that this provides for nothing more than an inflation-adjusted budget.
“It will allow the universities to hold their operations at current levels without having, at this stage, to resort to drastic cuts and retrenchments.
“We continue to look out anxiously for a statement to be issued by minister Mkhize.”
Moreso, USAf chief executive officer Ahmed Bawa said that the 2018 University fee increase have been negotiated with students, while others were still hoping for a proper announcement from the government before determining the increase that would be passed on to students.
Considering the latest resolution on the 2018 University Fee Increase, it seems that the issue of free tertiary education earlier hinted by President Jacob Zuma last month may not materialize. The USAf said that the issue had yet to be settled as the country waits for an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on higher education to process the report by the Fees Commission.
The IMC has, however, found that free higher education is not feasible, but it recommended TVET colleges be fee-free and that all university students be funded through a cost-sharing model of government guaranteed income-contingency loans sourced from commercial banks.
“Universities cannot wait perpetually for the outcomes of that process. The 2018 academic year is literally upon us and they face the challenge of operating as institutions on the 1st of January,” USAf said, adding that the universities needed to draw up realistic budgets that would allow the institutions to function “at a decent level.”