Tertiary institutions in the Western Cape have not been fazed by last year’s #FeesMustFall protests as student applications and registrations are “oversubscribed” for the 2017 academic year.
According to the provinces’s four public tertiary institutions; UWC, Stellenbosch University, UCT and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), there has been no drop in the number of applications.
Last year, the universities’ campuses were beset by violent protests, with students demanding no fee hikes.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gorhdan delivered his Budget speech, saying the government recognised the needs of students for financial assistance.
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“In addition to the increases of R32 billion we made in the higher education allocations in last year’s Budget and the 2016 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, we have added a further R5bn in the outer year of the MTEF,” he said.
“Government has provided funds to ensure that no student whose combined family income is below R600 000 per annum will face fee increases at universities and TVET colleges for 2017.
All poor students who applied and qualified for NSFAS awards, and who have been accepted by a university or a TVET college, will be supported.”
Lauren Kansley, of CPUT, said the registration fee was R3 500 and 32 000 first-year applications were received.
“CPUT’s revised Student Enrolment Plan provides places for only 9 315 first-time entering undergraduates in 2017. We are very oversubscribed.”
UCT’s Elijah Moholola said although registration was scheduled for February 27 to March 10, the university would enroll 4 200 first-years.
“UCT received 26 416 first-year applications for 2017 compared to 23 321 for 2016”.
UCT does not charge a registration fee, “but it requires students to make a minimum initial payment of R21 500 or full fee if it is lower than this figure by March 3”.
Luthando Tyhalibongo, of UWC, said the university was “not seeing any significant changes due to the student protests yet”.
“Registration fee and upfront payment are R4 290, however, NSFAS students are exempted from paying the upfront payment. Other students who fit in the missing middle and have financial problems are encouraged to visit the Student Credit Management Office.”
Stellenbosch University spokesperson Martin Viljoen said this year, the institution had also seen an increase in applications and registrations in some faculties.
It registered 5 399 first-years compared to 5 073 last year.
“Stellenbosch University does not have a registration fee, but requires the first instalment of the study fees. Students can apply for delayed payment, which means they can pay the first instalment over three months.”