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29 March 2019 | Story Lacea Loader

No deregistration of students at the University of the Free State (UFS) will be effected until after the Financial Appeals Committee has concluded its process on 5 April 2019.

During a meeting between the university management and the Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) today, the following agreement was reached:

  1. The date for the submission of appeals has been extended to Tuesday 2 April 2019 at 12:00. No further extension will be given. The application form for the Financial Appeals Committee has previously been sent to the ufs4life email addresses of all provisionally registered students.
  2. Students who have appealed their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) outcomes will not be deregistered while awaiting the result of the outcome of their appeal.
  3. Verified final-year students who are provisionally registered will not be deregistered. This will be subject to verification by the Financial Appeals Committee. These students must also submit an appeal.
  4. All other categories of students must submit their appeals to the Financial Appeals Committee.

NB: The documentation mentioned above must be submitted to the Student Finance Office as indicated on the financial appeals form sent to students via their ufs4life email address.

The UFS has taken a pro-poor approach to assist students who are academically deserving. With this approach, the university’s fee structure is much less than that of many public institutions of higher learning in the country. Senior students are also supported through a provisional registration process that grants them the opportunity to pay a reduced amount in order to register, enabling them to fully participate in all activities while extension is provided to secure the necessary funding for their studies.

The university has made a number of concessions to ensure that students are not financially excluded during the 2019 academic year. Many of these concessions were raised by the ISRC on behalf of students and was agreed upon by the university management.  

These concessions include:

  1. Students who have confirmed NSFAS funding for 2019 with historic debt, are to secure registration. This has taken place before the announcement on 24 March 2019 by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor, that the historic debt of NSFAS students will be settled by the department.

     

  2. Students in the missing middle who received a gap grant in 2018, have been assisted to pay a lesser amount to register fully for 2019.

     

  3. Students with historic debt who are not receiving the gap grant have also been assisted to register for 2019. Acceptable payment plans for these students have been agreed upon with the university’s Student Finance Office.

     

  4. First-time entering students were assisted with a reduced first payment to enable them to register for 2019.

     

  5. Final-year students with historic debt of less than R20 000 who could not have been assisted in any of the above concessions explained above were allowed to register.

     

  6. Students who are provisionally registered and who could not find the necessary financial means, had the opportunity to submit appeals to the Financial Appeals Committee by 29 March 2019 to secure their registration. This committee comprises representatives of the university management, as well as members of the ISRC. This committee is scheduled to meet on 5 April 2019.

The above is evidence of the multi-layered efforts by the university to support academic deserving students as far as it is practically possible in order to avoid financial exclusion. Additionally, the university’s Student Finance Office has since the beginning of the academic year communicated extensively on the process with students who are at risk of being deregistered.  

Historically, less than 0,5% of registered students at the UFS are not able to find the necessary means to secure their registration.

To support students in their academic efforts, all matters pertaining to registration should be concluded by the end of the first term. A cut-off date is set by which all registration processes – including concessions – are to be concluded. This date – 31 March 2019 – has already been set in 2018, which is the result of consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including the IRSC.

This cut-off date has now been extended to Tuesday 2 April 2019 at 12:00.

Released by:

Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Marketing)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393



News Archive

Boyden Observatory turns 120
2009-05-13

 

At the celebration of the 120th year of existence of the UFS's Boyden Observatory are, from the left: Prof. Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS, Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic Planning at the UFS, Mr Ian Heyns from AngloGold Ashanti and his wife, Cheryl, and Prof. François Retief, former rector of the UFS and patron of the Friends of Boyden.
Photo: Hannes Pieterse

The Boyden Observatory, one of the oldest observatories in the Southern Hemisphere and a prominent beacon in Bloemfontein, recently celebrated its 120th year of existence.

This milestone was celebrated by staff, students, other dignitaries of the University of the Free State (UFS) and special guests at the observatory last week.

“The observatory provides the Free State with a unique scientific, educational and tourist facility. No other city in South Africa, and few in the world, has a public observatory with telescopes the size and quality of those at Boyden,” said Prof. Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS.

The observatory, boasting the third-largest optical telescope in South Africa, has a long and illustrious history. It was established on a temporary site on Mount Harvard near the small town of Chosica, Peru in 1889. Later it was moved to Arequipa in Peru where important astronomical observations were made from 1891 to 1926. “However, due to unstable weather patterns and observing conditions, it was decided to move the Boyden Station to another site somewhere else in the Southern Hemisphere, maybe South Africa,” said Prof. Van Schalkwyk.

South Africa's excellent climatic conditions were fairly well known and in 1927 the instruments were shipped and the Boyden Station was set up next to Maselspoort near Bloemfontein. Observations began in September 1927 and in 1933 the new site was officially completed, including the 60 inch (1.5 m) telescope, which was then the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere. This telescope was recently refurbished to a modern research instrument.

The observatory has various other telescopes and one of them, the 13" refractor telescope, which was sent to Arequipa in 1891 and later to Bloemfontein, is still in an excellent condition. Another important telescope is the Watcher Robotic Telescope of the University College Dublin, which conducts many successful observations of gamma ray bursts.

“In the first few decades of the twentieth century, the Boyden Observatory contributed considerably to our understanding of the secrets of the universe at large. The period luminosity relationship of the Cepheid variable stars was, for example, discovered from observations obtained at Boyden. This relationship is one of the cornerstones of modern astrophysics. It is currently used to make estimates of the size and age of the universe from observations of the Hubble Space Telescope,” said Prof. Van Schalkwyk.

“The Boyden Observatory contributed to the university’s astrophysics research group being able to produce the first M.Sc. degrees associated with the National Space Science Programme (NASSAP) in the country and the Boyden Science Centre plays an important role in science and technology awareness of learners, teachers and the general public,” said Prof. Van Schalkwyk.

The Boyden Science Centre has also formed strong relationships with various institutions, including the South African Agency for the Advancement of Science and Technology (SAASTA) and the Department of Science and Technology. The centre has already conducted many different projects for the Department of Science and Technology, including National Science Week projects, as well as National Astronomy Month projects. It also serves as one of the hosts of SAASTA’s annual Astronomy Quiz.

Media Release:
Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
13 May 2009
 

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