Price hikes planned for universities in South Africa

 ·19 Jan 2022

The Department of Higher Education has proposed that South Africa’s universities increase tuition fees by 4.3% and student accommodation by 6.3% in 2022.

Universities South Africa, the body representing the country’s university vice-chancellors, says it has asked for a 5% hike in tuition fees and 7% for hostel fees.

Speaking to eNCA, Universities South Africa chief executive Ahmed Bawa says that fees would need to increase by 5% just to cover basic inflation-linked costs. Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) data published by Statistics South Africa on Wednesday (19 January) shows that inflation increased to 5.9% in December 2021.

Bawa added that if fees are less than inflation, there would be erosion in the buying power of universities. He added that a significant part of a university’s purchases are dollar or pound-based, with the rand weakening also leading to additional costs. “Our calculations indicate that the Higher Education Price Index is in the order of 1-2% higher than CPI.”

In June 2021,  Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande said his department is developing a policy framework for the regulation of university fees to ensure that fees are kept at affordable levels for all families that need assistance.

“These efforts in the long-term aim to ensure that going forward all students are able to access some form of financial support for their university studies. However, without substantial additional funding being available in the sector, student debt will continue to be a problem,” Nzimande said.

In 2021, university tuition and accommodation fees increased by 4.7% and 6.7% respectively.

Read: New rules being developed for online schools in South Africa

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