#BudgetSpeech: Student aid gets a boost

An additional R16.3 billion has been allocated to higher education over the next three years.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivering his national Budget speech in Parliament on 24 February 2016. Picture GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced that more money would be injected in sectors such as education.

Gordhan, who was recalled to the position, presented his first Budget speech in Parliament after President Jacob Zuma's reshuffling of finance ministers in December last year.

The minister said an additional R16.3 billion has been allocated for higher education over the next three years.

"R5.7 billion of this addresses the shortfall caused by keeping fees for 2016 academic year at 2015 levels, and the carry-through costs over the MTEF period."

Last year, thousands of students from different universities nationwide took part in #FeesMustFall protests calling for an end to high university fees.

The #FeesMustFall Campaign saw a number of tertiary institutions come to a standstill as students protested against proposed tuition fee hikes.

The protests were to show university management that there must be a zero percent increase in 2016 tuition fees and end to increasing it.

Student leaders and university officials from across the country met with President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings last year.

Zuma, together with student leaders and university management discussed the fee crisis.

It was then decided that there would be a zero percent fee increase for 2016.

Today, Gordhan said R2.5 billion would go to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to clear outstanding student debt.

"A further R8 billion over the medium term will enable current students to complete their studies."