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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

Higher than expected prevalence of dementia in South African urban black population
2010-09-22

 Prof. Malan Heyns and Mr Rikus van der Poel

Pilot research done by University of the Free State (UFS) indicates that the prevalence of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is only one of the causes, is considerably higher than initially estimated. Clinical tests are now underway to confirm these preliminary findings.

To date it has been incorrectly assumed that dementia is less prevalent among urban black communities. This assumption is strongly disputed by the findings of the current study, which indicates a preliminary prevalence rate of approximately 6% for adults aged 65 years and older in this population group. Previous estimates for Southern Africa have been set at around 2,1%.

The research by the Unit for Professional Training and Services in the Behavioural Sciences (UNIBS) at the UFS and Alzheimer’s South Africa is part of the International 10/66 Dementia Research Group’s (10/66 DRG) initiative to establish the prevalence of dementia worldwide.

Mr Rikus van der Poel, coordinator of the local study, and Prof. Malan Heyns, Principal Investigator, say worldwide 66% of people with dementia live in low and middle income countries. It is expected that it will rise to more than 70% by 2040, and the socio-economic impact of dementia will increase accordingly within this period. 21 September marks World Alzheimer’s Day, and this year the focus is on the global economic impact of dementia. Currently, the world wide cost of dementia exceeds 1% of the total global GDP. If the global cost associated with dementia care was a company, it would be larger than Exxon-Mobil or Wal-Mart.

The researchers also say that of great concern is the fact that South Africa’s public healthcare system is essentially geared toward addressing primary healthcare needs, such as HIV/Aids and tuberculosis. The adult prevalence rate of HIV was 18,1% in 2007. According to UNAIDS figures more than 5,7 million people in South Africa are living with HIV/Aids, with an estimated annual mortality of 300 000. In many instances the deceased are young parents, with the result that the burden of childcare falls back on the elderly, and in many cases elderly grandparents suffering from dementia are left without children to take care of them. “These are but a few reasons that highlight the need for advocacy and awareness regarding dementia and care giving in a growing and increasingly urbanized population,” they say.

Low and middle income countries often lack epidemiological data to provide representative estimates of the regional prevalence of dementia. In general, epidemiological studies are challenging and expensive, especially in multi-cultural environments where the application of research protocols relies heavily on accurate language translations and successfully negotiated community access. Despite these challenges, the local researchers are keen to support advocacy and have joined the international effort to establish the prevalence of dementia through the 10/66 DRG.

The 10/66 DRG is a collective of researchers carrying out population-based research into dementia, non-communicable diseases and ageing in low and middle income countries. 10/66 refers to the two-thirds (66%) of people with dementia living in low and middle income countries, and the 10% or less of population-based research that has been carried out in those regions.

Since its inception in 1998, the 10/66 DRG has conducted population based surveys in 14 catchment areas in ten low and middle income countries, with a specific focus on the prevalence and impact of dementia. South Africa is one of seven LAMICs (low and medium income countries) where new studies have been conducted recently, the others being Puerto Rico, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, China and India.

Mr Van der Poel says participating researchers endeavour to conduct cross-sectional, comprehensive, one-phase surveys of all residents aged 65 and older within a geographically defined area. All centres share the same core minimum dataset with cross-culturally validated assessments (dementia diagnosis and subtypes, mental disorders, physical health, anthropometry, demographics, extensive non-communicable risk factor questionnaires, disability/functioning, health service utilization and caregiver strain).

The local pilot study, funded by Alzheimer’s South Africa, was rolled out through an existing community partnership, the Mangaung University of the Free State Community Partnership Programme (MUCPP).

According to Mr Van der Poel and Prof. Heyns, valuable insights have been gained into the myriad factors at play in establishing an epidemiological research project. The local community has responded positively and the pilot phase in and of itself has managed to promote awareness of the condition. The study has also managed to identify traditional and culture-specific views of dementia and dementia care. In addition, existing community-based networks are being strengthened, since part of the protocol will include the training and development of family caregivers within the local community in Mangaung.

“Like most developing economies, the South African population will experience continued urbanization during the next two decades, along with increased life expectancy. Community-based and residential care facilities for dementia are few and far between and government spending will in all probability continue to address the high demands associated with primary healthcare needs. These are only some of the reasons why epidemiological and related research is an important tool for assisting lobbyists, advocates and policymakers in promoting better care for those affected by dementia.”

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
21 September 2010

 

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