UCT offers concession to students with debts of more than R10k
The council of the University of Cape Town (UCT) has agreed not to completely block students who owe the institution fees from registering in the current academic year.
Chair of the council Babalwa Ngonyama said for this academic year, students with fee arrears of more than R10,000 were not permitted to register, but they can appeal against that decision.
“However, we also know that there are students with fee debt higher than R10,000 who have the potential to complete their courses of study. The special meeting of council was called to consider the plight of these students,” she said.
This came from a meeting the council had earlier on Monday which was meant to consider the issue of unpaid fees that is preventing students from re-registering for the new academic year.
Ngonyama said this concession would apply to students who are SA citizens, SA permanent residents, from Sadc countries and from other countries in Africa.
“It will not apply to students registered for courses at the Graduate School of Business, or who are international students from continents other than Africa.
“The council has noted that student fee debt is a national problem. Earlier this month, the minister of higher education, science, and technology, Blade Nzimande, reported that R16.5bn was owed by students to public universities in SA,” Ngonyama said.
She said the cumulative fee debt at UCT currently stands at R317.8m.
“At the same time, we provide financial support every year to about 50% of our undergraduate students and about 35% of our postgraduate students. For the 2021 academic year, this financial support amounted to approximately R1.7bn.”
Ngonyama said the university executive will review current financial aid and fee policies to develop proposals for reform that will align with Vision 2030 with the objective of ensuring that the allocation of financial assistance is aligned with demonstrable financial need.
The proposals would be brought to council for consideration in time for implementation for the 2023 academic year.
“The Students’ Representative Council will be invited to take part in a joint working group with university management, to ensure that students who will benefit from the additional fee block concessions for 2022 can complete their registrations as rapidly as possible, so that their academic progress is not compromised.
“As members of council we further reiterate that we are confident that this additional support to UCT students will make a significant and material contribution to their ability to realise their potential at UCT,” Ngonyama said.
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