Students still battling debt despite protests and promises

Student debt has been a continuing problem for South Africa’s economy and higher education sector owing to the limited funding provided by the Department of Higher Education and Training. It is simply not enough to fund all students who are enrolled in tertiary education institutions, write Michelle Banda and Alinaswe Lusengo for Daily Maverick.

Because of inflation, the increased cost of living, rising student fees and a lack of sustainable solutions, the national student debt has gradually increased by at least ZAR2 billion (US$111 million) annually over the past decade. By the 2017-18 academic year, student debt already sat at an astonishing ZAR11.3 billion.

DM168 was unable to confirm the exact debt figures before 2017, despite multiple attempts to get these numbers. What is confirmed is that the student debt crisis snowballed from ZAR13.162 billion in the 2019-20 academic year to ZAR16.5 billion in 2021-22. The March 2021 protests over university student debts made it clear that few changes had been made to correct the continuing issues around tertiary education funding.
Full report on the Daily Maverick site