UWC hit hard by no fee increase

UWC reportedly lost out on R56m this year because of govt’s decision to keep tuition fees the same as 2015.

Students disrupt Fees Commission hearing in Cape Town. Picture: Xolani Koyana/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The fees commission has heard the University of the Western Cape (UWC) took a financial strain as a result of the recent no fee increase.

The institution's management gave a presentation to the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training looking into the feasibility of free education in Cape Town today.

UWC spoke of its history of financial difficulty, facing bankruptcy and how a majority of students rely on state financial aid.

UWC management has told the fees commission, the institution lost out on R56 million this year because of government's decision to keep tuition fees the same as the previous year.

It also mentions a previous instance in 1995 where a similar decision was taken and in that case the university lost R5 million.

The university's Director of Finance Manie Regal says, "We're very concerned about how the future looks if we get any particular year wrong because it has the consequences of a downward trajectory if one doesn't fix it up as a result of past decisions."

Deputy vice-chancellor Vivinne Lawack says state funding has declined by 11 percent since 2000.

Students earlier disrupted the fees commission hearing in Cape Town.

A suspended Cape Peninsula University of Technology student was to make a presentation when others with placards staged a protest inside the venue.

Commission spokesperson Andile Tshona says students raised issues of their suspensions from various institutions.

"However there's evidence that they have decided that tomorrow they will be given a slot time to make presentation before the commission."