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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

UFS responds on the outcome of the court case in the alleged attack by Cobus Muller and Charl Blom on Gwebu
2014-09-09

The management of the University of the Free State (UFS) acknowledges the finding issued on 4 September 2014 by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that it was “unable to find any corroborating evidence to make a conclusive finding of racism and violation of human rights” in the Muzi Gwebu case.

The university management also takes cognisance of the ruling in the Bloemfontein Regional Court by Regional Magistrate Rasheed Matthews today (9 September 2014) that both Cobus Muller and Charl Blom are found not guilty on all the charges which included reckless driving, crimen injuria, attempted murder and assault (Muller), and a charge of assault (Blom). We note the Magistrate’s concerns about “inconsistencies in the evidence and exaggerations”, that the complainant “displayed hostility throughout the trial” and that he was “not a reliable witness and is prejudiced.” And therefore, in the words of the Magistrate to the defendants, “I’ve decided to give you the benefit of the doubt.”

Both Muller and Blom were suspended from all campuses of the UFS on 19 February 2014 based on the evidence available at the time of reckless driving, assault and other charges. This evidence was further borne out by an internal investigation into the incident of 17 February 2014 on the Bloemfontein Campus. In the light of the evidence available to us at the time, and the volatile situation on campus in the days following the attack, the UFS management believes that it was the correct decision to suspend the students, given the serious nature of the charges, and pending a decision of the courts.

In the light of both the SAHRC ruling as the Regional Court ruling, the university management has decided to take the following steps:

1.    The suspensions of both Muller and Blom from all campuses of the university are lifted with immediate effect.

2.    Muller may attend a forthcoming graduation ceremony during which the degree BSc Construction Management will be officially conferred upon him. He completed all the requirements for the degree in 2013, but was not allowed to attend the graduation ceremony of 11 April 2014 due to his suspension and the fact that the criminal charges were still pending.

3.    Blom may return to the university to complete his studies.

4.    The UFS is in discussion with the parents of one of the students and, if required, would also meet with legal counsel of the university, as well as those of students Muller and Blom to discuss any further steps given the outcome of the court case.

5.    In short, on grounds of the ruling by die SAHRC, as well as the Bloemfontein Regional Court, the university will not continue with its disciplinary action against Muller and Blom.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS said: “This has been a very difficult time for the university and I am pleased to record that throughout the crisis, the student body on the Bloemfontein Campus showed remarkable restraint and discipline, confirming also the broad, non-racial character of the peaceful protests that followed. Our student body has matured and our campus cultures are much more inclusive and transformed as a result of the quality and depth of student leadership over the past few years. The new Student Representative Council (SRC) is a splendid example of this – with the first black woman President (Mosa Leteane) and the first blind woman SRC student leader (Louzanne Coetzee).”

“I am pleased that the matter is now behind us and, again, we rest with the decisions of the Commission and the Courts as final,” he said.

Prof Jansen also apologised on behalf of the UFS to Cobus Muller and Charl Blom, their parents, and their families, for the disruption that the suspension brought in their lives and for the stress they had to bear during this difficult period. “For that, I am truly sorry,” he said.


Issued by: Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Tel: +27 (0) 51 401 2584 | +27 (0) 83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

 

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