The Financial Fiscal Commission (FFC) presented an analysis of the of the Department of Higher Education and Training’s 2016/17 budget to the Portfolio Committee on 5 April 2016. They identified the implications of the 0% fee increase for 2016, the the broader issue of free tertiary education and limited state funding as risks to the DHET budget.
DHET has a budget of R66.8 billion for 2016/17. An analysis of the budget shows the following:
The University Education programme funding increasing from 32.8 billion in 2015/16 to R39.5 billion in 2016/17. The strong growth (13.5%) responds to the o% fee increase.
Continuing Education and Training (CET) programme funding increasing marginally from R1.5 billion in 2015/16 to R2 billion in 2016/17
Entities are allocated a budget of R26.7 billion that will further increase to R31 billion in 2018/19
Over the 2016 MTEF period, the National Student Aid Financial Scheme (NSFAS) to receive R24.5 billion over the three years
The FFC noted that whilst government’s approach is “free education for those in need”, students have expressed a contrary demand of “free education for all”. A policy decision has to be made on this demand and a Presidential Commission has been established to, amongst others, make findings on the feasibility of “making higher education and training fee-free in South Africa”.
In its presentation the following day, NSFAS presented a breakdown of its 2016/17 budget and said that that government will re-prioritise approximately R4.5 billion of state funding to be allocated to NSFAS for 2016/17. This was to provide for loans amounting to approximately R2.5 billion to assist 71 753 identified students who qualified for NSFAS funding but were either partially or not funded at all over the past three academic years. An additional allocation of R2 billion will ensure that any of these students still in the university system in 2016, are supported financially to continue and complete their qualifications.
See full report of the meeting here and see infographic below for more on the DHET budget analysis: