#FeesMustFall will hit universities for R2.2 billion

The successful protest movement from students to halt university fee increases for next year will hit universities for at least R2.2 billion, according to the City Press.

The paper calculated the figure based on fee collections in 2012, applying the average fee increase over the years since 2000 and adjusting for inflation.

According to the City Press, tuition and residence fees collected this year amounted to approximately R22.5 billion. Now, with a 0% increase, universities will be missing out on R2.2 billion that needs to be recovered elsewhere.

While President Jacob Zuma was the one to announce that fees would be increasing by 0% in 2016, reports have surfaced saying that university vice-chancellors said that they agreed to this only on condition that government would cover the shortfall.

However, Zuma, higher education minister Blade Nzimande and Science and Technology minister Naledi Pandor were non-committal on the issue, City Press said.

According to the report, universities were “strong-armed” into finding the money from their own accounts, and would have to revise annual budgets to cover the bill.

However protesting students weren’t calling for fees to simply stay the same – free education is a key point that students want to tackle, and have vowed to continue protesting for.

The cost of free education

There is general consensus that free education will not be free for all – and it is presumed that it will be for those in need, and take the form of education paid for by the state.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which set aside R9.5 billion for student financial aid would thus need to increase the figure to R15 billion, according to a working group set up by Nzimande.

However that’s based on student numbers from 2014, at 2010 prices – adjusted for inflation, this would actually reach well over R20 billion.

The current higher education budget is R42 billion.

The full story can be read in the City Press for 25 October 2015

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#FeesMustFall will hit universities for R2.2 billion