SA: MTBPS to reveal university fees shortfall

Pravin_Gordhan_-Wikimedia commonsPretoria – Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will next month during the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) announce how National Treasury will fund the university fees shortfall.

In a statement on Tuesday, Treasury said that it had been inundated with enquiries on how the shortfall will be funded following the announcement by Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande.

On Monday, Minister Nzimande announced that universities will individually decide on fee increases for the 2017 academic year. However, the recommendation is that fee increases should not go above 8%.

Minister Nzimande also announced that fees for students who qualified for funding under the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, and the “missing middle”, would not increase in 2017.

“National Treasury has been exploring different mechanisms of finding the money to pay for the subsidy. The department is embarking on a prioritising drive and working with various departments and agencies to address the shortfall.

“National Treasury will continue to work with the Department of Higher Education and Training on the fees matter and will announce the results of the process during the MTBPS on 26 October 2016,” it said.

National Treasury said it supports the call, encouraging all National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) beneficiaries who are employed to start repaying their loans.

“This is part of each citizenry responsibility to play a part in helping other students who are in need of financial aid. In the present constrained fiscal environment this is an extremely challenging situation.

“It is important therefore that, those who can afford to pay do so to enable the state to support the ever increasing numbers of those who deserve support and cannot afford,” Treasury said.