Committed to enabling access to education
- Wits University
The University received several queries pertaining to fees, funding, financial aid, and accommodation. Here are the many ways Wits assists students.
Wits is committed to enabling access to higher education as far as our resources allow. The University is working with the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), donors, and the private sector to secure funding for students as far as possible.
How much funding does Wits allocate to students?
In 2023, Wits disbursed approximately R1.5 billion to 26 076 students of which R646 million was NSFAS funding for 9 004 students.
R169 million was disbursed during 2023 for Wits scholarships and bursaries, which includes, inter alia, the following:
- R45 million for Undergraduate Merit and Scholarship Awards to support 3,343 undergraduate students,
- R68 million for Postgraduate Merit Awards to support 1 354 students,
- R28 million to the Wits Hardship Fund to help 1 441 students, and
- R4 million for eligible LLB students who were defunded by NSFAS.
The University will match the funds raised via the SRC’s fundraising campaign.
What is the Wits Hardship Fund?
The Wits Hardship Fund was established in 2016 with an initial amount of R10 million per annum allocated to assist academically deserving, missing middle students to register and to secure emergency accommodation (limited number of beds available). For 2024, R28 million has been allocated to the Wits Hardship Fund to assist eligible students who meet the criteria:
Students with a family income under R600 000 and who owe more than R10 000 can apply. Successful applicants receive 50% of the outstanding debt up to a maximum of R50 000, and students must meet the academic requirement of 48%. Students studying towards their first qualification are prioritised due to limited funds.
Students are encouraged to apply to NSFAS’ new loan scheme for the missing middle if they qualify and can also register for potential discretionary funding. Other options for funding include student loans, bursaries and sponsorships. Please direct all funding queries to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office and the Fees Office by clicking on the following link: https://witshelp-ism.saasiteu.com and by following these steps to log your ticket.
How does Wits help students with historic debt?
The University cannot cancel all historic debt, as it will make the institution financially unsustainable.
- Students who owe R10 000 or less from 2023 can register.
- Passing students who were on NSFAS in 2023 and who are waiting on NSFAS for 2024, can register if they sign an Acknowledgement of Debt form and a related payment plan.
- A student whose total household income is below R600 000 can apply for registration assistance by paying 50% of the outstanding debt due and by arranging to pay the balance of the debt during 2024.
- Students who are fully funded in 2024 with outstanding debt exceeding R10 000 but less than R120 000 can complete a sponsor AOD form which must be accompanied by a sponsorship letter.
Can first fee payments be deferred?
Students who cannot afford the first fee payment can apply for a postponement to 31 March 2024 on the Student Self-Service portal.
How does Wits help students with accommodation?
- Wits offers a range of accommodation options to students who should make room or apartment choices in line with their available funding. In the extended housing network, including accredited off-campus accommodation, there are about 27 000 beds available.
- Residence offers to NSFAS beneficiaries have been made for students who may have a residence shortfall because of the NSFAS accommodation cap if they sign an AOD.
- 50% of residence beds are allocated to first year students and the remainder to returning students who meet the residence admission requirements.
- Wits has accredited 22 000 beds in the areas surrounding the University to ensure that students have access to appropriate student accommodation.
How does Wits help international students?
International students are important members of the Wits community and contribute significantly to the richness of the Wits experience. International students are required by South African law to provide proof that they can fund their full stay which is a condition of their visa.
In 2024, academically achieving returning international students (on a case-by-case basis) who are financially unable to pay the full 75% but have paid 50% of their historical debt and have entered into a payment plan for the balance of the historical debt, can pay a 50% upfront payment on this year’s fees and register.
What about academic exclusions?
The admission and re-admission of students is carefully considered by each Faculty, in line with well-established policies, and a range of academic and psychosocial support programmes. When a student fails to meet the re-admission requirements, the readmission review committees consider each individual case on its own merits.
Students have representation on these committees through their elected student leaders. All students who fail to meet the re-admission conditions and whose registration is cancelled, can use the appropriate channels to apply for readmission in the following year. Students whose registration is cancelled at mid-year can thus apply for readmission for the next year.
What services are available to students?
Wits offers a range of support services to students including transport services to and from residences and between campuses, primary healthcare services, an after-hour ambulance service in partnership with ER24, career counselling, academic and psychosocial support, clubs and societies, food security programmes, and initiatives to end period poverty.
Wits is doing all that it can within its means to assist students, be it through funding students, fundraising from various sectors, and administering financial aid, bursaries, and scholarships. The University will continue to work with the SRC, the public and private sector, donors and partners to assist students.
The Senior Executive Team is also working with stakeholders across all sectors of society to find a lasting solution to the funding challenges experienced by students.