South Africa: Parliament On Waiver of Fee Increases for Poor Students

Waiver of fee increases for 'missing middle'

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training, Ms Connie September, has welcomed the waiver on fee increases for poor students and the category of students described as "the missing middle".

"Of particular interest to the Committee is how the missing middle has been accommodated in the fee structure. Now more students are exempted from fee increases. We share the sentiment that students who can afford to pay should do so, because government cannot subsidise everyone," Ms September said.

"It is worth noting that further to what the Minister announced, the Presidential Fees Commission is still in progress. Students are encouraged to make submissions, as recommendations from that process will have a long-lasting impact on the funding models for the sector," she said.

"We require stabilisation in higher education and training. It is commendable that the Minister had announced a position that assists everyone, including those students attending Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. Now students can now focus on their studies and on building decent futures for themselves."

The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, on Monday announced that although fee increments for 2017 would be decided by individual universities, it was preferable that increases be capped below 8%.

Ms September said it was important that universities be considerate when deciding fee increments for 2017 and that commitment be demonstrated towards poor students, so that they do not face uncertainty and hardship. She called on university management, students and other stakeholders to continue with engagements.

The Committee is on a week-long visit to Gauteng and will visit various training colleges and centres during the week.

Source: South African Government.