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Message from the Senior Executive Team of Wits University

- Wits University

[WATCH] Welcome address to all students and staff by Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Adam Habib.

Greetings from the Senior Executive Team.

The majority of Wits students have registered for 2017 and we wish you a successful year.

[WATCH] Welcome address to all students and staff by Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Adam Habib.

Registration

Wits University has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that students can register in 2017.

The Department of Higher Education and Training covered the 8% fee increase for students on financial aid and in the missing middle. The state further agreed to support all students who qualify for funding from the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and those with a combined family income of up to R600 000 per annum, effectively supporting new students in the missing middle.

Wits made further concessions – allowing students who owe R10 000 or less to roll over their 2016 debt into their 2017 fees. All those owing more than R10 000, are allowed to register if they paid half of their debt and worked out a payment plan for the remainder.

Due to these concessions, the majority of students were able to register in 2017.

  • This year, 15 780 students signed up for the fee payment plan.
  • 4 791 students who owed R10 000 or less were able to register.
  • 772 students were able to pay half their outstanding fees before registering and have entered into a payment plan to settle the remainder of the fees.

Funding opportunities

Students who require funding can apply for via the Donation Discretionary Fund on the Student Self-Service Portal. The application will be added to a database which will be used to pair students with suitable donors, if and when the University receives such funding.

Accommodation

We are mindful of the challenges around limited student accommodation, which are national issues, but especially difficult for universities like Wits, located in urban areas. Wits’ residences are full for 2017 and we are aware that some students are still trying to find accommodation. We received approximately 25 000 applications for about 6 200 beds available at the University.

In recent years we have built new residences like the Wits Junction and extended existing residences to increase our capacity to house students. This year, we added about 150 beds to our overall capacity. The new Yale Village and Rennie House comprises 653 beds, increasing the number of beds available to students by 150.

We have tried to assist students on NSFAS by paying allowances, even in cases where NSFAS applications are still being finalised.

A new residence construction programme is planned but is dependent on funding from government. Wits is also engaging with the Gauteng Province to see how we can convert existing public facilities in and around Wits to student housing.

Higher education sector

There are several engagements taking place that includes student leaders, vice-chancellors, government and civil society representatives, some led by our Chancellor, Justice Dikgang Moseneke. A national convention is also planned in the near future and the report of the Fees Commission is expected later this year.

We will keep you updated as developments occur and look forward to working with you throughout the year.

Thank you

SENIOR EXECUTIVE TEAM

14 FEBRUARY 2017

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