Nam students met halfway

13 December 2016 | Education

University registrations next year are likely to be peaceful as students said they “can live” with the proposed 5% student fee increases by the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) and Unam.

At the start of this academic year, there were protests by local students regarding fee increases and calls for government to make tertiary education free and accessible for all. This action followed violent uprisings in South Africa in January and again in November, with the social media hash tag #feesmustfall.

Nust management declined to comment on whether it had any plans to increase student fees next year. But according to Nust student representative council president Oscar Mwandingi, the board approved a 5% increase at a recent council meeting.

Mwandingi, who is on the council by virtue of his position, said higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi reportedly issued a directive to tertiary institutions and ordered them not to increase fees by more than 5%.

“When the minister briefed the meeting she said the 5% must apply to tuition, accommodation and registration fees, but I requested that they must leave the registration as is, because some students will not be able to afford an increase during registration,” he said.

At Unam, things are much the same. During a special university council meeting held last month Unam approved a 5% student fee increase for 2017, 2.5% lower than the increase that applied for the 2016 academic year.

The council also approved a N$100 increase in Unam''s registration fee to N$1 650.

In addition, Namibian students are required to pay a minimum N$5 000 deposit on tuition fees on or before registration, while non-hostel Namibian students are required to pay a minimum deposit of N$6 650. International students are required to pay 100% of the registration and hostel fees, as well as 50% of all tuition fees. Therefore, at registration a non-hostel student from a SADC country will pay N$14 150 as minimum deposit and a non-SADC student will have to pay N$24 150.

In a recent statement Unam urged its students to sort out their financial enquiries before the start of registration next year.

A payment plan for Namibian students on the remaining balance is available by signing a debit order or settlement agreement at registration to pay off the outstanding balance by 30 June 2017.

This will particularly apply to non-bursary students.

Students who fail to pay outstanding fees by this date will be deregistered.

“This is being done in such a way, that by that time we believe students would have been able to settle their fees,” said Simon Namesho, public relations officer of Unam.

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