Universities eye austerity measures as student debt grows

Leading universities have reported sharp increases in student debt levels ahead of re-opening for the new academic year despite no fee increases last year, writes Roland Mpofu for The Sunday Independent.

The University of the Witwatersrand and the universities of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, among others, told The Sunday Independent they were preparing for austerity measures to reduce budget deficits ahead of the start of the academic year.

The University of Johannesburg reported that more than 9,583 of its returning students owe the university almost R265 million (US$19.8 million) in unpaid fees from last year alone. The university is projecting an operating deficit of R19 million this year. At the University of Cape Town, the total amount of outstanding fees for last year was more than R113 million, while the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University reported accumulated debt to be R122.5 million, of which R99.3 million was incurred last year.
Full report on the IOL site