The Council of the University of the Witwatersrand has announced that it will increase its fees by 8% next year.
“The University has no choice but to increase fees if it is to remain financially sustainable as academics and professional and administrative staff need to be remunerated‚ books and journals need to be purchased (many in foreign currency)‚ utilities need to be paid and infrastructure needs to be maintained‚” it said in a statement on Monday.
“In addition‚ the University will accommodate the costs of insourcing and the new ICT renewal project from 2017.”
The university said it was recently informed that the 0% fee increase in 2016 will be rolled into its government subsidy‚ meaning its 2017 subsidy increase will be less than expected. It will now receive about R54-million less than expected from the government in 2017.
“Council is aware that this decision will be financially onerous for the families of many students. Note that the state has committed to funding the increase for all students with a family income of less than R600‚000.
“Wits will‚ however‚ do all that it can to seek bursaries and scholarships for as many students as is possible‚” it said.
Wits students were up in arms in September‚ protesting over a number of weeks‚ when Higher Education and
Training Minister Blade Nzimande announced that universities could hike 2017 fees‚ capped at 8%.
Students said that the government had not properly engaged them and adequately investigated their call for free education.
In a breakdown of the options it explored when deciding on the increase‚ Wits forecast a deficit of R 56.5 million if fees are increased by 8% next year.
“The University remains committed to working towards achieving access to quality‚ free higher education as per the draft pledge that it was willing to adopt in October 2016. This goal however can only be realised at a systemic level when the financing of higher education is completely reorganised. “