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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

Fracking in the Karoo has advantages and disadvantages
2012-05-25

 

Dr Danie Vermeulen
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar
25 May 2012

Fracking for shale gas in the Karoo was laid bare during a public lecture by Dr Danie Vermeulen, Director of the Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS). He shared facts, figures and research with his audience. No “yes” or “no” vote was cast. The audience was left to decide for itself.

The exploitation of shale gas in the pristine Karoo has probably been one of the most debated issues in South Africa since 2011.
 
Dr Vermeulen’s lecture, “The shale gas story in the Karoo: both sides of the coin”, was the first in a series presented by the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Science under the theme “Sustainability”. Dr Vermeulen is a trained geo-hydrologist and geologist. He has been involved in fracking in South Africa since the debate started. He went on a study tour to the USA in 2011 to learn more about fracking and he visited the USA to further his investigation in May 2012.
 
Some of the information he shared, includes:

- It is estimated that South Africa has the fifth-largest shale-gas reserves in the world, following on China, the USA, Argentina and Mexico.
- Flow-back water is stored in sealed tanks and not in flow-back dams.
- Fracturing will not contaminate the water in an area, as the drilling of the wells will go far deeper than the groundwater aquifers. Every well has four steel casings – one within the other – with the gaps between them sealed with cement.
- More than a million hydraulic fracturing simulations took place in the USA without compromising fresh groundwater. The surface activities can cause problems because that is where man-made and managerial operations could cause pollution.
- Water use for shale-gas exploration is lower than for other kinds of energy, but the fact that the Karoo is an arid region makes the use of groundwater a sensitive issue. Dr Vermeulen highlighted this aspect as his major concern regarding shale-gas exploration.
- The cost to develop is a quarter of the cost for an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Dolerite intrusions in the Karoo are an unresearched concern. Dolerite is unique to the South African situation. Dolerite intrusion temperatures exceed 900 °C.

He also addressed the shale-gas footprint, well decommissioning and site reclamation, radio activity in the shale and the low possibility of seismic events.
 
Dr Vermeulen said South Africa is a net importer of energy. About 90% of its power supply is coal-based. For continued economic growth, South Africa needs a stable energy supply. It is also forecast that energy demand in South Africa is growing faster than the average global demand.
 
Unknowns to be addressed in research and exploration are the gas reserves and gas needs of South Africa. Do we have enough water? What will be the visual and social impact? Who must do the exploration?
 
“Only exploration will give us these answers,” Dr Vermeulen said.

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