University of Cape Town (UCT) students on Friday joined students at other higher learning institutions protesting over financial exclusion.
This after UCT students held a mass meeting on Thursday to discuss various issues affecting students at the institution and decided to go on protest action.
Among the students’ grievances is the delay by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to finalise arrangements in respect of allowances for 2021.
NSFAS funded 700 000 students in 2020 and government will now spend R42.1 billion on the scheme this year.
UCT’s student representative council (SRC) vowed to bring classes to a halt if their demands were not met by the university’s management. The university has about 1 655 students with historic debt, amounting to R88 million.
In a statement on Friday, UCT said it was aware of the issues that have been raised by the student representatives, some of which are at the national level while others are institutional.
“Most of the issues are receiving attention at national level through the department of higher education and training. These include issues relating to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme,” said UCT spokesman Elijah Moholola.
“At institutional level, the UCT executive has engaged with the SRC over the issues raised. The executive remains committed to this engagement process.”
Moholola said the university had also put measures in place to assist eligible students with historic debt.
“UCT, like all other universities, is awaiting NSFAS funding decisions for 2021 applicants. NSFAS handles all funding applications and these are outside the control of the universities. The pending NSFAS outcomes do not necessarily prohibit students from registering for the 2021 academic year. UCT does not charge any registration fee. Students can register without having to make any payment, including the minimum initial payment.”
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