BREAKING: Zuma releases fees commission report

President Jacob Zuma has finally released the fees commission report.

The report is from the Heher commision of inquiry on the possibility of free tertiary education.

According to the commission, the state has “no capacity” to provide free tertiary education, but their report did provide suggestions on how to alleviate the financial burden of students.

ALSO READ: Student body warns Zuma of ‘dire consequences’ over fees report

Among other issues, student accommodation, funding and historic debts were outlined in the report.

Zuma established the commision in January 2016 following widespread #FeesMustFall protests across the country.

Among the recommendations of the commission are that registration and application fees be scrapped across the board.

ALSO READ: Jacob Zuma plans to make an announcement on free education

The presidency tweeted on Monday morning that Zuma would release the report on Monday afternoon.

Some of the findings of the commission are:
– Funding the post-schooling education and training sector
The commission recommended that government increase block funding to the post-school education and training sector (PSET) as a whole in line with increased costs for providing quality education and infrastructure needs. The commission recommended that government increase its expenditure on higher education and training to at least 1% of the GDP, in line with comparable economies.
– Student accommodation
On student accommodation, the commission found that there was a severe shortage of student accommodation across the higher education and training sector. The commission recommended that government adopt an affordable plan to develop more student accommodation and that historically disadvantaged institutions be prioritised.
– Online and blended learning
The commission recommended that government must further investigate the viability of “online and blended learning” as an alternative in addressing the funding and capacity challenges facing the current higher education and training sector.
– Funding for technical vocational education and training (TVET) students
The commission made the following recommendations regarding the funding of students at TVET colleges:
·         That all students at TVET colleges should receive fully subsidised free education in the form of grants that cover their full cost of study and that no student should be partially funded.
– Postgraduate students
The commission recommended that the National Research Foundation bursaries (based on merit, or other criteria as developed by the NRF) for postgraduate students be retained and expanded when possible. The commission further recommended for postgraduate students to have access to a cost-sharing model of government guaranteed income-contingency loans sourced from commercial banks (ICL).
– Historic debt
It is recommended that students with debt, who have since graduated, be offered income-contingent loans (ICL) as well.
The commission recommended that the participation of the national student financial aid scheme (NSFAS) in the funding of university students be replaced by the ICL system. NSFAS should be retained for the provision of the funding of all TVET students and TVET student support if such retention is considered necessary.
–  Funding for university students
The commission recommended that all undergraduate and postgraduate students studying at both public and private universities and colleges, regardless of their family background, be funded through a cost-sharing model of government guaranteed income-contingency loans sourced from commercial banks. Through this cost-sharing model, the commission recommends that commercial banks issue government-guaranteed loans to the students that are payable by the student upon graduation and attainment of a specific income threshold. Should the student fail to reach the required income threshold, the government bears the secondary liability.
In implementing this model, the commission recommended that the existing NSFAS model be replaced by a new income contingency loan system.
Should the government be opposed to this model, the commission recommended that government consider the “ikusasa student financial aid programme”, an income contingency loan funding model proposed by the ministerial task team on funding for poor, working class and missing middle students.
Download the report here 
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