How Much Do South African Universities Profit?

Police are clashing with South African university students protesting against proposed tuition hikes for 2016 that could raise fees by as much as 11.5 percent, Time reports.

Demonstrations began at the University of the Witwatersrand last week, and quickly spread to other camouses including Stellenbosch, Rhodes and University of Cape Town, according to a report in BusinessTech.

These are the largest student demonstrations since apartheid, Time reported.

“This looks like 1976 all over again,” Motheo Lengoasa, a student at University of Cape Town, told Reuters. She was referring to a June 1976 protest against making Afrikaans compulsory as the language of instruction at South African schools. Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu described Afrikaans as the “language of the oppressor,” Time reported. During that demonstration, police killed at least 69 students.

A university education in South Africa costs about $7,400 a year, something 95 percent of all South Africans cannot afford, according to Time. For many students, this amounts to discrimination.

In addition to tuition fees, universities rely on other sources of income including government subsidies and grants (which often make up more than a third of total income); income from research; private gifts and donations; and residence halls and catering, according to BusinessTech.

Some South African universities are faring relatively well thanks to increasing fees, despite some unpaid student loans.

South Africa’s best performing university, Stellenbosch, received a high number of private donations, allocations and contracts exceeding $74 million.

The university also generated $70 million from the disposal of investments, BusinessTech reports.

Income from student tuition increased by 15 percent at the University of KwaZulu Natal to $96 million mainly due to a 12-percent student fee hike and increased enrollment of about 3 percent.

The University of Johannesburg reported an operating surplus of close to $2.5 million, plus a gain of $28 million through investments.

University of South Africa (UNISA) reported a profit of $74 million profit in 2013 and then a loss of $3 million in 2014.

UNISA said one of the main reasons for the decrease in its operating surplus was the fair value adjustment of investments because of the slow market growth and the liquidation of long-term investments to meet cash flow needs.

“Investments are exposed to the volatility of the global equity markets and the fair value adjustment changed by 55 percent from 777 million rand in 2013 to 349 million rand during the year under review,” Unisa said, according to BusinessTech.

In March, students at the University of Cape Town got the world’s attention when they demanded removal of a statute of Cecil Rhodes, a British colonialist, Time reported.

Source: Dana Sanchez, AFK Insider

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