2021 University fee increase

The 2021 academic year for higher education is expected to commence in March, and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has proposed a fee increase for both tuition and accomodation for the calendar year. “This would be 4.7% on tuition fees and 6.7% on accommodation fees, in line with previous years. I am awaiting the response of university councils on this matter.” said the Minister.

Student leaders have rejected the proposal, raising questions around the impact that COVID-19 has had on the 2020 year and the possibility of a second wave in 2021. EWN quoted Wits SRC President Mpendulo Mfeka: "We've been painted rascals who don't want to pay for fees and want everything for free. It makes no sense why fees should go up by 4.7%."

He argues that students are against any fee increment especially since they had been forced by institutions to use online classes. He added: "If we anticipate that we're going to have a second wave, it means that online learning will continue and not so many students are going to be on campus."

With questions of whether these fees are justifiable, the Minister additionally said: “The intention of these fee compacts is to ensure fee increases are kept at affordable levels, while also ensuring that universities are able to remain sustainable,” However Declan Dyer, UCT’s SRC has said that the zero percent fee increase from Fees Must Fall is non-negotiable.

2021 University fee increase dialogue