media releases - Students given further opportunity to pay outstanding fees
The University of South Africa has allowed students who cannot pay the remainder of their 1st semester fees, the opportunity to sign an acknowledgement of debt with an agreement to pay off their outstanding fees.
The final date for payment for the first semester was 31 March 2009. This date is communicated in the publications of the University. Students with outstanding balances were reminded in writing at the beginning of March that should the outstanding amount not be paid by the due date that some or all of their study units may be cancelled. Students were again reminded of the due date by means of an SMS and e-mails in the middle of March 2009.
The financial cancellation programme was set to run on 3 April 2009. The Management of the University then decided to delay the cancellations until the 4 May. Students were immediately informed, again by means of SMS and e-mail, that they had to contact the University by 4 May to make arrangements to pay outstanding balances and that the final due date for payment was extended until 27 June 2009.
On 4 May all students who had more than R300 outstanding for their first semester modules and did not contact the University to make arrangements for payment, were financially cancelled. On 7 May the Management agreed to allow additional time for students to contact the University to make arrangements for payment. Students who were financially cancelled and who have contacted the University to make arrangements for payment since then, have been reinstated.
The table below provides an indication of students as well as study units cancelled because of non-payment of fees, students who did not receive examination entrance, as well as students who settled fees and made use of the opportunity to settle outstanding debt by 27 June.
The University is aware that many students have financial challenges when wishing to study further. Unisa students have access to financial assistance through the national bursary scheme. Unisa has also entered into an agreement with Eduloan whereby students are able to apply for loans. In addition, students can choose the number of modules or courses they can afford to enrol for, as Unisa students have 10 academic years within which to finish an undergraduate degree. Unisa fees are also one third of the cost of the fees of a residential university.
Since Unisa’s funding comes mainly from taxpayers money as well as student fees, the University has a responsibility to ensure its finances are well managed. A student debt of R25-million poses a threat to such financial stability.
14 May 2009
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