The funding shortfall to fully cover all public high institutions of learning between now and 2020 stands at a massive R120 billion, according to the Department of Higher Education and Training.

This was revealed in a response from the department to a parliamentary question from the DA’s Shadow Minister of Higher Education and Training, Belinda Bozzoli.

Below is a table revealing the shortfalls for universities, FET Colleges (or Community Education and Training Colleges) and TVET Colleges for the three coming financial years.

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FET and TVET Colleges are the most affected by the shortfall as well as the threat of #FeesMustFall protests in 2017, according to the department.

“Based on the #Fees Must Fall campaign, it is anticipated that disruptions may escalate to the TVET Sector in 2017,” it said.

“The TVET sector cannot be sustained without additional financial resources from Government. The baseline is not sufficient to support the current enrolment in the system at the required 80% funding level and by implication, therefore, only able to fund students at 57% of the programme costs.”

TVET Colleges will need a total budget of R68 billion over the next three years, but have only been allocated R29.4 billion.

“There is further cause for alarm as the R120 billion shortfall does not take into account the promise made by the Minister [Blade Nzimande] and the President [Jacob Zuma] that 2017 fee increases for students from families earning less than R600 000 would be funded by the state,” Bozzoli said, implying that the shortfall could be much higher when taking this into consideration.

“The current fees crisis is only one element in this financial disaster. When direct funding to universities decreases, the shortfall has to be made up somewhere – specifically through increasing fees, with the disastrous consequences we have seen over the past two years,” she added.

Yesterday, Wits University announced it would hike fees by 8% for 2017, the maximum increment prescribed by the Higher Education department.

Bozzoli said the DA will write to Nzimande, to demand a full breakdown of the additional funding shortfall created by the President’s promises to fund all fee increases for 2016, and some of the increase for 2017.

“It is vital that we know how much has been allocated to each institution, and on what basis that allocation was made,” she said.