Fees: A nightmare from which students try to awake
Amid the struggle to gain access to housing‚ sanitation‚ health services‚ safety and security and other basic services‚ the struggle to gain access to education seems to top it all.
As prospective students get ready to register for tertiary education‚ they are met with high fees. Despite the historic #FeesMustFall protests that sought to demand no increment in fees at universities‚ fees have not fallen. The only thing that’s falling is the hope of many underprivileged students.
The African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X was famously quoted as saying: “Education is our passport to the future‚ for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” But many South African students cannot obtain this passport as they cannot afford it.
Twenty-four-year-old Child Psychology student at the University of Johannesburg‚ Shameelah Tupa‚ says she cannot afford her Honours registration fee.
“My registration fee is R6‚800‚ which my mother still has to borrow from work before I register on Friday. Although a bursary will be funding my R25‚000 fees for the whole year‚ my parents still have to pay for my registration.
“It saddens and upsets me that my mother is working extra hard just so I can get an education‚ it makes me want to work hard‚ finish school‚ get a job and start taking care of her.”
Parents have to make sacrifices in order for their children to access higher education.
According to a 23-year-old Philosophy and Political Science student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University‚ who did not want to be named‚ the university’s registration only opens later in the month and he does not yet know his set fee.
“The fees are steep to be honest. Many students are applying for this thing called down-payment exemption (An application to get exempted from paying the registration fee‚ you register for free while the university automatically adds the funds to your student account for later payment)‚ and this on its own indicates that fees are high. The process is going well so far‚ the problem will only begin when the university starts demanding its money and add interest‚ that’s the only downside to this which results in protests.”
A 22-year-old Physiotherapy student from the University of Cape Town who also requested to remain anonymous due to fear of victimisation had a slightly different take on the issue.
“Exam preparations are going slowly because I just came back from the holidays. In terms of fees‚ they are very high‚ I will not lie. But it’s coherent with the quality of education you get in UCT. For me it’s justifiable as to why they are so high. “
UJ The registration fee per student is R3‚870‚ and students planning to stay at residence need to pay an additional‚ R2‚600. This is excluding the R1‚200 deposit for residence.
WITS The 2017 registration fee is R9‚340. There is a waiver until the 31st March if the student cannot afford it now.
NNMU For full-time students‚ R6‚200 is payable for registration. Part-time students will pay R3‚500. In terms of diploma and certificate programmes‚ full-time students pay R4‚300 and part-time students R2‚800.