The University of Pretoria is disappointed by NSFAS’ rejection of its exemption application. Therefore, NSFAS will continue to implement the R45 000 cap on accommodation funding, shifting the financial burden onto students and the University, which are already under financial strain.
Nsfas Decision Regarding Cap on Accommodation
NSFAS was asked to reconsider the cap on accommodation allowance in January 2023 by the University in good faith and for the benefit of students, as the actual cost of both UP-owned and accredited accommodation exceeds the capped amount of R45 000. Students may not be able to recover the difference between the actual amount and the capped amount. As the amount is below their actual rates, accredited accommodation providers could refuse to place NSFAS students.
It is not possible for the University of Pretoria to fund the difference between the actual and capped amounts. Approximately R240 million will be required to fund the difference for the approximately 12 000 NSFAS students at UP. Students will be unable to afford to continue their education due to this, which will have multiple negative consequences.
In 2023, the Minister of Higher Education proposed a lower tuition fee increase (5.1%). As of December 2022, the consumer price index (CPI) was 7.2%. Due to the less than inflationary increase, the University is unable to fund the difference between actual and capped accommodation rates.
The University’s operational budget has been impacted by loadshedding. Utility fees have increased faster than inflation year over year. On stage 3 loadshedding and stage 4 loadshedding, we spend approximately R1.5 million a day on diesel to operate generators on our campuses and residences. Combined, these challenges may result in the delayed or even non-refurbishment of university-owned residences.
In order to find sustainable solutions, the University will continue to work with student leadership. For this reason, we’re using multiple institutional communication channels to help registered students who are struggling to find accommodation.
In order to negotiate more favorable rates for NSFAS students, we have made a list of accommodation providers that fall within the NSFAS cap.
As a matter of urgency, the University will work with the SRC to find alternative housing and to accredit more affordable housing. We will consider making safe transport available to students in places where this accommodation is not located close to our campuses.
NSFAS students living in UP residences will be allowed to continue living there while the University, together with the students, explores workable and sustainable solutions to address the shortfall between NSFAS allowance and accommodation costs.
To ensure that no deserving student is left behind, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and deal with the problems within our available resources.
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