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Students from poor families can expect to pay as little as R1 000 a year to study at UCT from next year, the university has announced.
On average, a typical year of study at UCT, including fees, accommodation, books, food and sundries, will cost a student R80 000 a year.
UCT vice-chancellor Dr Max Price on Tuesday revealed details of a new financial aid policy that the university hoped would make attendance affordable for all.
The new policy will apply to South African undergraduate students who have been accepted on academic grounds and are eligible for financial assistance.
The university said that with the financial aid available, UCT was probably more affordable than any other institution for a student from a poor background.
“What we can say now is that no one will be turned away for financial reasons,” Price said.
About R441 million in financial aid will be available to eligible UCT students, and will be sourced from UCT’s coffers, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), corporations and other sources.
In terms of the new policy, the university will cover almost the entire cost of study for students with an annual family income of up to R50 000.
The family would be expected to make a small contribution, depending on their specific annual income.
Families earning up to R50 000 a year could pay as little R1 000 a year and financial aid would cover the remaining R79 000. A means test would be applied.
Those with a slightly higher annual family income (but less than R230 000) would be expected to pay a slightly higher contribution.
Families with an annual income of about R100 000 could pay about R10 000 and the financial aid portion would be R70 000.
Price said the university would also extend the range of people eligible for financial aid. Not all students qualify for NSFAS assistance yet still find university study unaffordable.
In terms of the new policy, a student with an annual family income of between R230 000 and R480 000 could apply for a UCT bursary. These bursaries could cover up to 50 percent of the fee for a family with an income below R330 000 and up to 40 percent for a family with an income between R330 000 and R430 000.
These students would also be eligible to apply for loans to cover a further R25 000, subject to meeting the requirements.
Price said the third key element of the new policy was that the contribution made by students receiving financial aid would remain constant.
“Students who are on financial aid will not pay any more than they did the previous year.”
The closing date for financial aid applications for the 2013 academic year was October 31, but has been extended to January 15.