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Commission to explore free higher education

It was confirmed yesterday R2.3 billion will be allocated to support the implementation of a 0% fee increase.

FILE. Thousands of university students across the country  protested against the proposed fee hike in their respective institutions. Picture: Andiswa Mkosi Primedia.

JOHANNESBURG - Following a report from the team investigating funding in tertiary institutions, President Jacob Zuma says the next step will be to announce the members of a commission to explore the possibility of free higher education.

Yesterday, the funding team presented its report to the Presidency, which has confirmed the allocation of R2.3 billion next year to support the implementation of a zero percent fee increase.

In addition to over R4 billion that will be allocated to settle existing student debt and fix funding shortages next year, the presidential team has also called for more effective administration.

It has called on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to ensure it follows its own criteria and fund eligible students for the entire course of their studies.

The report has also called on banks to give loans to those whose income is above the NSFAS threshold at favourable interest rates.

The team was appointed in October, shortly after the ' Fees Must Fall' movement secured the scrapping of a fee increase for 2016.

Zuma has thanked them for their temporary solutions and says the Presidency will now work on the prospect of free higher education.