The University Association, Universities South Africa has announced a fee increase for the 2018 academic year to be capped at 8%.
The association represents more than 20 public universities around the country.
It says the increase is linked to the rate of inflation and the nature of expenditures for many institutions.
The association says the issue of free education for universities still needs to be settled and institutions are anxiously waiting to hear the decision of the Inter-Ministerial Committee appointed by the presidency for this purpose.
It however says universities cannot wait indefinately as the 2018 academic year is around the corner. Many have to draw realistic budgets that will allow them to function at a decent level.
The association says 26 vice chancellors have asked government to repeat the 2017 dispensation for next year for disadvantaged students.
It says fee adjustments below inflation will lead to drastic budget cuts and retrenchments.