Thousands of students in limbo at Cape institutions

Orientation and registration will start later than usual at Cape Town universities due to fees protests last year.

FILE: University of Cape Town. Pictures: Facebook/Michael Currin.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Around 20,000 prospective first year students will not have a spot at the University of Cape Town (UCT) when the new academic year gets underway.

Orientation and registration will start later than usual this year, while some students finish their deferred exams as a result of last year's fees protests.

UCT was one of several tertiary education institutions that was plagued by violent student protests last year.

UCT’s Elijah Moholola says, “The University of Cape Town received about 24,146 applications from first year students and from this total the university can only enroll 4,200 first years.”

Meanwhile, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) has urged prospective students to remain patient while it concludes processing applications.

CPUT's Lauren Kansley says there is no need to rush as the registration date has been pushed back.

“This is a result of fees must fall last year. We weren’t able to get into the region of 35,000 applications and you need just over 9,000 first year placements. It is a massive undertaking to process all of those applications and give it to the most deserving candidates.”

WATCH: #Fees2017: Violence erupts in Cape Town's CBD


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has reopened its application process until 14 February.

It's encouraged those studying this year, who don't have funding, to apply as soon as possible.

This year will be the first time NSFAS directly manages its own applications, evaluation and awarding of funding to students.

NSFAS says now that matric results have been released, learners going to universities and colleges are encouraged to apply.

Spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo says they anticipate to receive over 400,000 applications.

“We have never managed the application, evaluation or awarding of funding. We are doing it for the first time.”

Mamabolo says they've also encouraged those who applied last year, but did not submit all documentation, to do so now.

“Now that the matric results are out, we’ve found they’ve not applied.”

NSFAS says it is funding students from 50 colleges and 26 universities and has received close to 370,000 applications so far.

To apply for funding, click here.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)