universities owed billions

HIGHER education institutions are owed about R2,8billion in unpaid fees.

HIGHER education institutions are owed about R2,8billion in unpaid fees.

This was revealed by Higher Education of SA (Hesa) yesterday, which aims to collect all outstanding fees.

While students at the Durban University of Technology and the Tshwane University of Technology are rioting over fee increases, Hesa says tuition fee increases across the sector for 2010, as a percentage of those in 2009, have been kept in the range of nine to 15percent in line with inflationary pressures and commitments within individual institutions as a result of internal consultation processes.

Hesa's Cleo Bhengu said: "At the end of last year Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande wrote a letter to all institutions asking about the consultation process. Most institutions have consulted students bodies.

"Most of the increases in fees is done by council, and SRCs are on the platforms."

Hesa says the 23 universities in the country have committed themselves to facilitating increased access to higher education and to ensure that it remains affordable by:

l Making available appropriate financial support to students who meet the relevant institutional criteria, in order to ensure that no deserving student is denied higher education on financial grounds;

l Expediting the processing of upfront payments in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) so that NSFAS-supported students are in a position to pay first instalments of fees; and

l Strengthening institutional systems for detecting early warning signals on student performance as well as mechanisms for redirecting under-performing students to other areas of study.