Universities SA says writing off student debt 'not on the cards'

Universities across the country are set to resume classes this week, with some institutions extending remote online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There are however concerns over student readiness. #eNCA​ Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Universities South Africa CEO Professor Ahmed Bawa says writing off students' historic debt is simply not on the cards.

The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) is threatening to continue with protest action against the exclusion of students due to outstanding fees.

Universities across the country are set to resume classes this week.

READ: Wits SRC concerned about student readiness

"Debt owed to universities is in the region of R10-billion. At Wits [it] amounts about R250-million," Bawa said.

"The idea that the amount can simply be written off is just not on the cards. It will make a huge dent for these universities to continue to be sustainable.

"Secondly, none of this debt is attributable to students who qualify for NSFAS funding. The new system covers the cost of studying, accommodation and so on.

"This is mainly now a debt that has accrued to students who fall into this category we refer to as the missing middle. [The] fact of the matter is we don't have a national system yet to cater to the needs of students who fall into that category."


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