Fees report: Commission recommends scrapping of application, registration fees

The Heher Commission has found that free higher education for all is not viable.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The commission looking into the feasibility of free higher education in South Africa has recommended that application and registration fees be scrapped across the board.

Zuma has released the much-anticipated report amid concerns over where government would find the over R40 billion needed to fund higher education.

Zuma established the commission in January last year which was chaired by retired judge Jonathan Heher.

The Heher Commission has found that free higher education for all is not viable.

It has described the current funding schemes as inequitable, inadequate and unsustainable.

The commission has recommended that the current National Student Financial Aid Scheme model be replaced by a new contingency loan scheme through public and private partnership with financial institutions, all of which will be underwritten by government.

The commission has also suggested that an education fund be set up for the development of higher education, which companies, individuals and aid agencies can contribute to.

There's also a recommendation that government increases its expenditure on higher education and training to at least 1% of the GDP in line with comparable economies.


The commission has also recommended that R50 billion be poured into TVET colleges to fund an expansion.

While the Heher Commission has found that the state doesn’t have the financial muscle to provide free higher education for all, President Zuma is yet to announce his plan of action.

There have been reports that Zuma is planning to shock the country by introducing free education through a controversial funding plan by his alleged future son-in-law Morris Masutha.

On the sidelines of his Red October address in Durban on Sunday, former higher education minister Blade Nzimande confirmed he received a proposal by Masutha.

“It’s good when young people have ideas but it was not a workable proposal at the time. I don’t know now what’s the latest version.”

The Presidency can't say when the interministerial committee on education set up to decide on the prospect of free higher education will take a decision but it’s given the assurance it will act with urgency.

It says the money should come from the Unemployment Insurance Fund which is currently sitting at near a R100 billion.

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