- Tuition fees for 2019: Agreeing that determining an acceptable tuition fee increase for 2019 was urgent, the Board tasked the Funding Strategy Group (FSG) to urgently consider the most workable proposal for the 2019 tuition fee increase. Since the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is developing a conceptual Tuition Fees Framework for 2019 to 2021, the FSG will engage with the contents of this document as soon as it is finalised and immediately thereafter prepare and put forward a position for USAf has since impressed upon the DHET the importance of giving priority attention to this matter.
- Missing-middle question in 2019: Through the FSG, the Board will also seek clarity from government on the missing-middle students for 2019, especially in light of the 16 December 2017 declaration of “free” education.
The USAf Board is encouraging donors to channel their investments to post-graduate studies to feed the pipeline of emerging academics and researchers. Photo: Courtesy of the Vaal University of Technology.
- Postgraduate funding: In view of declining donor funding to undergraduate student education, especially post 16 December 2017, the Board adopted a position to encourage previous donors to rather channel their investment to postgraduate (honours) studies to feed the critical pipeline of emerging academics and researchers. It was noted that National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)-funded students wishing to proceed to postgraduate studies tended to hit a dead end after obtaining their first degree.
- Student accommodation: The Board agreed on the need to appoint a task team to examine the norms and standards prescribed by the DHET on student accommodation and to determine whether these standards were affordable for universities. The FSG was tasked with investigating diversified student accommodation models and reporting back in due course.
- NSFAS: Following the decision to convene a special task team among the NSFAS, DHET and USAf to determine how universities should assist their NSFAS-funded students and to address a number of outstanding critical issues, a date has been set for this meeting to take place on 20 July in Cape Town.