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By Imaan Moosa
27 BSc students in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying are unable to graduate in March due to unpaid fees.
The Minister of Higher Education has announced a new financial intervention in tertiary education.
Students receiving funding from government will still need to pay thousands of rands in registration fees that they may not be able to afford.
Wits students who have pending status on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) bursary are being asked to pay an upfront Wits registration fee to be registered as a student.
The Wits registration fee is R9 340. Some students on NSFAS have been asked to pay R4 670 to be cleared for registration.
The Wits fees office manager, Daya Veerasamy, said those unable to pay the fee would not be able to register and also face exclusion for the 2015 academic year.
“The money which was allocated to the university is not enough to cover all the applicants,” Veerasamy said.
Wits released a statement on Twitter saying that despite wanting to “see students succeed”, there is “limited funding within which to operate”.
The university added: “Students [on NSFAS] were sent communication last year already that they should prepare to pay the upfront fee.”
One prospective Witsie was told that registering students are expected to raise the registration funds “to show their commitment” to their studies.
The NSFAS Wits office could not be reached for comment.
Wits Students who have not received the outcomes on their NSFAS/bursary applications are advised to contact the Fees Office on Tel: 011 717 1546/1537.
The School of Mining Engineering has become the recipient of a R23.6-million cash infusion—most of it for new bursaries—courtesy of the Mining Qualification Authority (MQA).
Celebrating a partnership going back to 2005, the MQA handed the School of Mining Engineering a R23.6-million cheque for investments in mining education during a ceremony on Friday.
Most of the R23.6-million will provide full bursary funding—which includes tuition, accommodation and allowances—to 236 students.
In the School of Mining Engineering, 120 bursaries will be allocated. The chemical and metallurgical engineering school will receive 59 bursaries. The geology school will receive bursaries for 16 students. The other schools in engineering will have 41 students who benefit from bursaries.
“About 50% of students enrolled for mining and minerals qualification drop out of their studies due to financial constraints. Today we are here to make a small contribution towards financial assistance of these students. I hope that this partnership will continue to make a meaningful contribution in the eradication of poverty in our country,” said MQA chief financial officer Yunus Omar.
In addition to the amount provided, the MQA had already given the school R100 000 in support for the school’s program for needy and deserving students.[pullquote]”I hope that this partnership will continue to make a meaningful contribution in the eradication of poverty in our country”[/pullquote]
“We often have students who come here and say we can’t see the white board, or we don’t have food. So we then use this strategic money, in a strategic way towards needy and deserving students,” School of Mining Engineering head Prof Fred Cawood said.
“We look at the candidate; we make an assessment to see whether the money will make the difference. If the money can cause these students to pass at the end of the year, then we allocate.”
Postgraduate students in the School of Mining Engineering will also receive funding for their research projects out of the new donation to the tune of R100 000.
Vice Chancellor Adam Habib thanked the MQA for the donation and reflected on the historic challenges of economic disenfranchisement in society, stressing the need for co-operation between institutions.
“This particular partnership is testimony to what can be done…it creates hope by providing bursaries to students who are particularly disadvantaged,” Habib said.
“Not only do you provide resources for covering the training of students who do not have the resources under normal conditions, you also simultaneously create incentives for your industry. But even more importantly you create hope in society,” said Habib.
The new journalism honours students of 2012 were greeted warmly at a welcome party held at the journalism department last night.
New additions to the class of 2012 were added to the mid- career and career entry levels of the honours course. Franz Kruger, the acting head of the school of Journalism and Media studies assured the new students that they would be working hard throughout the year.
“If you want the full benefits of this course the only way to do it is full–time,” Kruger said.
Dean of Humanities Prof. Tawana Kupe made sure the students were comfortable by assuring them that the programme was the best in the country.
“You could have gone anywhere, to Stellenbosch [University], or to the Eastern Cape. But you chose [to come] here, and for that I’m glad.
Bursaries were also handed out to the career- entry students, who will begin class on Monday the 13th. These students will form part of the new Vuvuzela team.