Around 100 students from Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in the Eastern Cape, who owe thousand of rands in tuition fees, have written an open letter which highlighted what Wits University vice-chancellor, Adam Habib, described as a nationwide university debt crunch.
“So free education then does not resolve the problem of debt which is primarily from the missing middle who do not fall under the R350 000 per annum limit. The debt problem is climbing and people may say universities are unfair,” explained Habib.
These students, described as the “missing middle” by The Citizen, who do not qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), but still can’t afford tuition fees.
The students are appealing to the government to assist, because even though the university was issuing letters proving they have completed their courses, this does not sit well with most employers.
“Confirmation letters specify that we have completed that specific course. The problem is that companies don’t regard it as a legitimate document,” said one of the students to The Citizen.
Thus far there has been no official comment or response to the student’s letter by the government or the university.