16 February 2018

The announcement from President Jacob Zuma on 16 December 2017 regarding fee-free higher education for new, first-year South African undergraduate students from poor and working class families in 2018 refers. While the University of the Free State (UFS) welcomes the initiative by the government to support the above category of students, South African universities remain fee-paying institutions for all other students. 

Further to the email concerning fees for 2018 from Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, sent to returning/current students on 29 December 2017, the UFS has since received guidelines from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) regarding tuition fees for 2018, which is shared in this letter. 

The following information is important for students and parents to note:

  • There will be an 8% fee increase for 2018
  • Gap funding (i.e. gross combined family income up to R600 000 per annum for 2018) will be applicable for 2018 tuition and accommodation fees only
  • Full cost-bursary/scholarship holders must provide the Tuition Fee Department at the UFS with proof of bursaries/scholarships for 2018
  • The Schedule of Fees booklet will be made available online by 5 January 2018; see the University website for more information of actual costs
  • Students must take note that all students who are not funded through, for example the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), DHET, etc., will need to find their own funding for 2018.

The information below pertains to various fee categories. Kindly read the section that applies to you carefully.

1. NSFAS, Scholarships, and Bursary holders

  • The qualifying threshold for NSFAS beneficiaries remains R122 000 per combined household income per annum
  • NSFAS is closed for applications for 2018. No late applications from senior/returning students will be considered by NSFAS
  • The UFS Financial Aid Office will communicate via SMS with students who received NSFAS funding in 2017 and who have met the academic requirements for continued funding in 2018, once they are cleared for registration. No registration pre-payment is applicable to these students
  • Students who are already in the system and are funded through NSFAS under current criteria (household income up to R122 000), will continue to be funded. These continuing students will receive full bursaries for their actual cost of tuition and prescribed learning materials, as well as subsidised accommodation where applicable. The 2018 NSFAS funding will not have to be paid back. The previous year’s loans of students already in the system and funded through NSFAS, will not be converted to bursaries at this stage
  • Continuing students who applied for the first time for NSFAS in 2018, will be considered for funding if they meet the pre-2018 NSFAS academic and financial requirements (combined household income threshold of up to R122 000)
  • Please familiarise yourself with the NSFAS rules and procedures which are available on its website: http://www.nsfas.org.za/content/studentsupport.html
  • Students who qualified for NSFAS funding in 2017, but did not receive a link from NSFAS to sign a loan agreement, must report to the Financial Aid Office before registration. After assistance from Financial Aid, these students will be referred to the UFS Student Finance Division in the Registration venue for assistance with registration
  • Students who qualified for NSFAS funding in 2017, and received a link from NSFAS to sign a loan agreement, but who have not signed the loan agreement yet, must report to the Financial Aid Office before registration
  • Continuing NSFAS students who qualified for funding in 2018, but who have outstanding 2017 fees, will be allowed to register, provided that they have made appropriate arrangements with the UFS (Student Finance Division)
  • Students who were offered funding from other funders, but which does not cover the full cost of study, may be eligible for top-up funding through NSFAS if they applied and meet the academic and financial eligibility requirements. Double funding will not be allowed

2. NSFAS students with outstanding debt for 2017

NSFAS 2017 and NSFAS 2018 with outstanding debt up to R15 000:

  • Students must submit payment plans
  • Payment period up and until end of October 2018
  • Do not have to make any upfront payments
  • Full registration 

NSFAS 2017 and NSFAS 2018 with outstanding debt MORE than R15 000:  

  • Students must first reduce their debt to R15000
  • Must submit payment plans for the balance
  • Payment period up and until the end of October 2018
  • Full registration

NSFAS 2017 but not qualifying for NSFAS in 2018:

  • Students will be treated the same as students from the Missing Middle Group

3. Missing Middle – Gap Funding 

Students whose combined household income does not exceed R600 000 per annum, qualify to apply for gap funding to cover the 8% fee increase. More information as well as the application form will soon be made available on the UFS website (https://www.ufs.ac.za/kovsielife/unlisted-pages/bursaries/financial-aid). 
Please Note:
  • Only South African citizens and citizens with a permanent South African residency, who are studying towards an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification in 2018, will be considered. 
  • NSFAS recipients will automatically qualify for the gap funding. 
  • Students who received gap funding in 2017 and who will be returning in 2018 will not be required to re-apply for the gap funding. 
  • Gap funding will cover the 8% increase on 2018 tuition and university accommodation fees only.
  • First payments payable by students who qualify for gap funding, will be as follows:
    • Students with NO outstanding balances for 2017:
      • Non-residential students: R3 000
      • Residential students: R7 000
      • Upon payment of the above-mentioned amounts, the student will be FULLY registered for 2018
    • Students with 2017 outstanding balances NOT exceeding R15 000
      • Non-residential students: R2 000
      • Residential students: R5 000
      • Upon payment of the above-mentioned amounts, the student will be PROVISIONALLY registered for 2018
      • All terms and conditions for provisional registration will be applicable.
    • Students with 2017 debt of MORE than R15 000
      • Students in this category will have to reduce their debt to at least R15 000 before they may apply for provisional registration.

4. International Applicants

  • International students are required to make the following payments five (5) working days prior to registration:
    • International Students (SADC)
      Residential R29 080
      Non-residential R19 360

    • International Students (NSADC)
      Residential R43 160
      Non-residential R28 160 
  • International students must pay all fees for the second semester in advance before registration can take place
  • South African and international SADC students pay the same fee per module. International non-SADC (NSADC) students pay the actual module price + 50%
  • An additional administrative levy for all international students is included in the amounts quoted above. The International Admin Levy is not refundable
  • All fees are Rand (ZAR) denominated
  • Please contact the Office for International Affairs for more details at:
    T: +27 51 401 3219/2501/3403/9436
    F: +27 51 401 9185
    E: internationalenquiries@ufs.ac.za

5. PostgraduateStudents

  • Postgraduate students may consult the Postgraduate School for any queries regarding first payments prior to registration.  Please see the UFS website for contact details on:

The Fees Yearbook 2018 is available online on the UFS website. Please use the following link: https://www.ufs.ac.za/docs/librariesprovider31/default-document-library/fees-yearbook-2018.pdf?sfvrsn=3222a621_0

For queries, please contact the relevant offices during working hours:

  • Tuition Fees
    Undergraduate students (Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses):
    +27 51 401 3003
    +27 51 401 2806

    Postgraduate students (Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses):
    T: +27 51 401 9537
    F: +27 51 401 3579
    E: tuitionfees@ufs.ac.za 
  • Housing and Residence Affairs
    +27 51 401 3455
    +27 51 401 3562 
  • Financial Aid
    Undergraduate students:
    Bloemfontein Campus: +27 51 401 3741
    Qwaqwa Campus: +27 58 718 5061

I trust you will find this in order and wish you all the best with your studies during 2018.

Chris Liebenberg
Senior Director: Finance

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