Months after the long debated fee hike for university institutions, the University of South Africa (Unisa) has announced the Unisa fee for 2017 saying it took into consideration the recent #FeesMustFall protests.
Unisa announced this on Tuesday evening assuring students that the fee price was not concluded on without considering students welfare and economic challenges.
According to the Chairman of the Council, Unisa’s vision statement – the African university shaping futures in the service of humanity – sets the standard for the university’s approach to the fee increases for 2017.
“During this highly significant period in the higher education milieu – with a pertinent focus on access, equity and justice to higher education – Unisa remains committed to supporting the disadvantaged and marginalized to achieve dreams and goals, development and upliftment that is contingent upon achieving professional and academic qualifications,” he said.
The university also acknowledged the difficulty of identifying the missing middle and has made provisions to support students registering for studies next year.
“I must add that the Unisa Council is conscious of the socio-economic constraints facing students accessing higher education deeply cognizant of the historic imbalances that continue to influence social empowerment.”
For undergraduates, Unisa fee says there will be a differentiated increase ranging from R40 to R80 per module.
Honours students will pay R200, up from R65 per module.
The maximum cost for an undergraduate module with 12 credits in 2017 will thus be R1 470. (Pro rata increases will apply for modules with different credit values. For example, the fee for a 6-credit module will be increased by R40.)
Postgraduate students who choose to receive materials electronically will receive a further 5 percent to 10 percent discount.
Unisa Council has also budgeted R99-million financial support for registered South African students who do not qualify for NASFAS funding.
This comes a while after Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape announced that there will be no fee increases next year.
The two universities signed the memorandum of agreement with the Student Representative Council.
Unisa council chairman, however, said the Unisa fee structure has always been the lowest with the deliberate intention of ensuring that the University remains accessible to as many disadvantaged and marginalized students as reasonably possible.
“The imperatives of access, equity and justice have been critical to the decisions of the Council particularly when considering annual fees,” said the Chairman of the Council.
“We are determined to continue to support students who have been disadvantaged through no fault of their own. It is a deep and profound mission of Unisa and the Council to provide the appropriate enabling environment that opens doors to progress and upliftment. However, we must also be responsible in ensuring the sustainability of Unisa, ensuring its space as a home for future generations of students, as well.”
Unisa remains profoundly supportive of all universities in South Africa, and believes that its approach to the 2017 fee increase is a further critical component of complementarity in the sector.