Reduced higher education spending increase student debt

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Poor economic growth and cuts in higher education spending have been identified as major contributors to the rising student debt in South Africa.

This was discussed at a national dialogue on graduate and student debt clearance hosted by the Walter Sisulu Convocation in the Eastern Cape.

Representatives from six universities participated in the dialogue to examine the root causes of student debt and to propose practical solutions.

At the end of 2023, the student debt of 25 public universities totalled R19 billion, with over 560 000 students having outstanding debt.

Professor Ihron Rensburg, a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) says, “We don’t have a solution at the moment and the reason for that is that the economy is simply not growing and so we are not growing the fiscals in the capacity that is of the country to finance its expanding needs. We’re not able to, I mean if you look at the loss of priorities, housing, water, electricity etc. You go down that list of demands and then you come to universities and so what’s the solution is a massive question we can only resolve.”

VIDEO | Over 560 000 students with outstanding debt: