Fees Commission Report widely rejected

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Students at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein have rejected the Fees Commission Report. They say the report has failed to address the plight of majority of poor students who cannot afford exorbitant study fees.

The Heher Commission was established by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the feasibility of free tertiary education.

Part of recommendations is that students at Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges should receive fully subsidised free education in the form of grants.

However, University of the Free State students have rejected the report, saying it has failed to address their needs.

“The question is what about those students that are funded by NSFAS? What will happen to them? Does this mean they will have to go to commercial banks? As far as historical debt is concerned it’s unfortunate. It means students have to get loans to settle,” says Student Representative Council President Asive Dlanjwa.

This is a view echoed by some of the students.

“Basically, I am disappointed because finance is barrier between students and the universities at tertiary. It’s sad, devastating and crushing my world. I am disappointed because they come for first year and second year, they drop out because they don’t have money to pay for their studies.”

University of the Free State Vice Chancellor and Rector Prof Francis Petersen has welcomed the report with some reservations.

“Well, I think the recommendations are good, but my concern is not about the recommendations; it’s more about whether the government will accept them and what will be the operational plan.”

Meanwhile, the South African Union of Students has also rejected the report labelling it ridiculous.


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