Fees have not fallen at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) but they will remain the same for next year. Yesterday TUT vice-chancellor Lourens van Staden announced that TUT students would not experience a fee increment for 2017. The decision was made last week on October 20 during a special meeting held by TUT’s council.
On Monday, October 24, TUT management met with the Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) to sign a memorandum. The memorandum consisted of several agreements; the first being that no student will pay a fee increment for 2017. This was followed by the agreement that the “financially needy and academically deserving students will not be excluded because of historic debt.”
In the memorandum it was also agreed that all academic activities will continue with no further interruptions. Lastly, it was agreed that “any student who wishes to retake a test, or missed a test between 17 and 27 October 2016, will be given to opportunity to do so”.
In a statement released yesterday by TUT management, it was explained how the fee-adjustment would be accounted for. Self-funded students, who account for an estimated 10% of the student population, will be covered by the university. According to the statement “The fee adjustment for 2017 for NSFAS-qualifying and ‘missing middle’ students will be funded by the [Department Higher Education and Training] DHET.”
Furthermore, TUT has made it clear that it supports the call for fee-free education. TUT “understand[s] the plight of the majority of students, who without financial support would never be able to fulfil their dream of obtaining a university qualification”.
The response from students and the public to this decision appears to be mixed. After TUT released their statement on Twitter, some viewed this as a wise decision while some saw this as a weak decision made by the SRC.