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First fee payment and historical debt

- Wits University

Senior Executive Team statement at 13:00:

The University would like to clarify matters regarding firstly, the first fee payment and secondly, historical student debt.

Regarding the first fee payment, the University has put in place an arrangement, the details of which were communicated to all students last year. Students who can pay are being asked to do so. It is in their best interests, and in the best interests of the University. Students who cannot pay can fill in a form online indicating that they cannot pay, and the University will allow them to register. The first fee payment is therefore not an obstacle to registration for any student. Please access the self-service portal on the website.

Regarding historical debt, for all students who were on NSFAS in 2015, an agreement has been reached with the state. As per a statement issued by the Presidency, the historical debt of all students who were on NSFAS in 2015 will be settled by the state.

Students who were not on NSFAS in 2015 will unfortunately be obliged to clear their debt before they will be allowed to register. We would have liked to make a concession in this regard, but the historical debt of these students amounts to over R100 million and if we were to make such a concession, the University would be thrown into a financial crisis that would compromise the education of all students. We urge non-NSFAS students with historical debt to explore all avenues to enable them to settle their debt.

We respect the right to protest and we support the call for free education for poor students. However, we cannot allow the financial sustainability of the University to be compromised. We urge all students to allow the registration process to continue undisrupted.