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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 implements paperless meeting system
2004-08-20

 

The Management Committee of the University of the Free State ’s (UFS) Executive Management recently entered the electronic environment of more effective and centralised meeting and decision-making administration by implementing ‘n computerised meeting system.

With this the UFS became the first higher education institution in the world to use the PARNASSUS-meeting management system. PARNASSUS , which refers to a mountain in the Greek mythology, is a licensed system from CIPAL in Belguim – a developer of software for a variety of applications.

“In stead of coming to a weekly management meeting with a file of documentation, each member now walks in with his/her laptop and the whole meeting procedure takes place electronically,” says Prof Sakkie Steyn, Registrar: General at the UFS.

At the same time the secretary registers the minutes point by point on the PARNASSUS programme. At the end of the meeting, after certain technical finishes are done, the minutes are distributed to members of the meeting and their secretaries/office managers. The draft minutes is also distributed to those who must implement decisions and prepare implementation steps. These staff members are given security clearance beforehand.

“The system is unique due to the fact that a translation engine has been built into the agenda and minute system. Agenda items can be submitted in Afrikaans and then automatically be translated in English by means of the interactive translation engine, or vice versa. The same principle applies to the minutes,” says Prof Steyn.

According to Prof Steyn the translation engine was develop with the expert assistance of the UFS’s Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment (ULFE). Word strings from previous minutes are now being added to the corpus of the translation engine.

“The system enables the secretary to continuously monitor which points are submitted for the agenda and if these points comply with the set standards namely clear recommendations, background and proposed implementation steps. The agenda is closed at a certain moment and no new points can then be added. The secretary does certain technical finished by means of a final classification of point and annexures. The draft agenda is then sent to the chairperson for approval, after which the agenda is electronically sent to members of the meeting and their secretaries/office managers for preparation,” says Prof Steyn.

“After the minutes have been approved at the next meeting, it is saved on the PARNASSUS decisions data base. The tracing of decisions made during previous meetings can be done by any person with the necessary security clearance. This is different from the past where stacks of documents had to be searched to find a decision,” says Prof Steyn.

According to Prof Steyn the secretariat and meeting administration services at the UFS has now entered a fully virtual and electronic environment. This will enhance effective decision making tremendously. “The PARNASSUS system saves us costs and time and the decentralisation of submissions to meetings lessens the work at centralised points,” says Prof Steyn.

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