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Budget Speech 2017

South Africa's growth and transformation

Financial assistance to students in higher education and colleges


Government recognises the needs articulated by students in universities and TVET colleges.


As the economy grows, we will be able to do more to finance an expansion in tertiary education opportunities and improvements in student funding.


Madam Speaker, in addition to the increases of R32 billion we made in the higher education allocations in last year’s Budget and the 2016 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, we have added a further R5 billion in the outer year of the MTEF. Government has provided funds to ensure that no student whose combined family income is below R600 000 per annum will face fee increases at universities and TVET colleges for 2017. All poor students who applied and qualified for NSFAS awards, and who have been accepted by a university or a TVET college, will be supported.


The Heher Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training will complete its work by June this year. The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Higher Education led by Minister Radebe is engaging all stakeholders to discuss the issues. Civil society initiatives involving business, churches and other organisations have created space for a diversity of options to be considered. The President has invited stakeholders to participate in processes that are underway so that all views are heard.


Given the magnitude of student funding requirements, it is imperative that we develop a clear roadmap towards a better higher education and training system. It must clearly indicate how society will achieve access, opportunity, financing and support for students in the university and further education sectors.


Several broad principles will assist in finding the way forward:

Government  is  determined  to  address  the  challenges  identified  in  post-school education and training in a phased manner. Resources will be taken into account in determining the pace with which these can be addressed.
Government stands ready to engage with education stakeholders and adapt financing arrangements as may be required in future years, within the scope of available resources.
Universities, students and education stakeholders share responsibility for improving access and quality and the diversity of higher education and training provided, within a framework of consultation rather than confrontation.
A growing contribution is needed from employers and industry through funding of bursaries, internship opportunities and research programmes, recognising that this is the foundation of future productivity and technology advances


Together, we will find a way forward that meets student funding needs fairly and sustainably, so that rising numbers of graduates can contribute positively to inclusive growth and transformation of the economy.