University fees to rise in 2014

Parents who plan to send their children to university in 2014 will have to fork out more cash.

The Department of Higher Education has blamed the declining university funding for the upcoming fee increases. Picture: University of Johannesburg

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Higher Education has blamed declining government university funding for the upcoming fee increases.

Tuition fees, including residence fees, are expected to increase substantially in 2014 at all 23 universities across the country.

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology will increase tuition fees by 6.5 percent while residence accommodation fees will increase by eight percent.

Currently, scores of students are battling to pay their fees throughout the country.

Thousands of university students will not be able to receive their final results or attend graduation ceremonies due to outstanding fees.

However, the Council on Higher Education says the increase cannot be avoided as universities are not properly funded.

CEO for the council Ahmed Essop told 567 Cape Talk that between 2000 and 2010 the government's subsidy to higher education institutions, on an annual basis, has decreased by roughly 1.1 percent.

"Fee increases happen every year. The fee increases are above inflation because it's suggested universities are not being funded properly or adequately and need to ensure they are able to balance their budget."

"I think it's also an overreaction to suggest they would necessarily recuse students from going to university because the government does have a loan and bursary scheme."

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Training Annelie Lotriet says it's time to look at alternatives.

"We have many parents who don't qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) bursaries because their income is too high, but they also don't qualify for loans at financial institutions so that creates a problem. We have to start being more creative. We should look at making it possible for more parents to access financial institutions for student loans so that there's less of a burden on the NSFAS loans."

Students who are graduating but have not been able to pay their fees can apply to NSFAS to get their final fees paid, but not all students qualify.