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Claim of announcement by Rhodes University of ‘the return of the minimum initial payment plan’ devoid of truth

Date Released: Tue, 9 January 2018 15:11 +0200

Rhodes University rejects misleading claims in an online publication that the University announced "the return of the Minimum Initial Payment (MIP)." It is regrettable that the inaccurate claims have caused unnecessary anxiety, confusion and consternation regarding an extremely important and sensitive matter of fees.

The University scrapped the MIP of 50 percent of tuition and 50 percent of residence fees in 2015 and introduced in its place a ‘registration fee’ payment of 10 percent of combined tuition and residence fees (where applicable).

This broad transformational move opened up access to the University for mainly black and working-class students and changed the student demographic significantly. The current student makes up at the University is broadly reflective of the national demographics in the country.

The drastic reduction in upfront payment, however, created serious operational and cash flow problems, which threatened the University’s academic enterprise and the quality of services to students. 

Research conducted in 2017 revealed that the University’s registration fees were among the lowest in the country. Without any significant cash reserves and having operated for years as a going concern on the bases of a healthy cash flow enabled by a relatively exclusive and well-off constituency it served, the financial risk became real.

An agreement was reached following discussions between the University and leadership of both the outgoing and new Students Representative Councils (SRC) to split the initial registration fee amount payable between tuition and residential fees with an amount of 10% payable for tuition and 25% of the residential fees payable as the Initial Fee Payment.

The use of the term “Initial Fee Payment” was motivated by the confusion that exists in the higher education sector on the use of the term “registration fee”. For some universities, “registration fee” is an amount of money levied on students which separate from, and in addition to, the tuition and residence fees. In the case of Rhodes University, the Initial Fee Payment is a portion of tuition fees and residence fees (where applicable).

The review of the percentage payable at registration from 10% of all fees to 10% of tuition and 25% of residential charges was approved by Council and announced by the University as the Initial Fee Payment. In line with the agreement with the Department of Higher Education and Training and NSFAS, NSFAS-qualifying students will not be required to pay the Initial Fee Payment.

Flexible payment options, including a monthly debit order, were also developed and communicated on various University platforms including:http://www.ru.ac.za/latestnews/faqsstudentfeesfor2018.html

Source:Communications and Advancement