SRC criticises UWC’s acknowledgement of debt agreements

The University of the Western Cape. Picture: Ian Landsberg

The University of the Western Cape. Picture: Ian Landsberg

Published Apr 9, 2024


Cape Town - The University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Student Representative Council (SRC) has criticised the institution’s acknowledgement of debt agreements.

In a recent statement, the student body said many students would not be able to graduate as they were forced to pay large amounts of money, such as 30% of their accumulated student debt in order to graduate.

“The SRC is of the view that there is no sense in demanding that a student coming from a poor or working-class background, pay up front 30% of their accumulated student debt, just so that they walk the stage and be conferred their qualification.

“This forces the student body to question whether UWC is truly an institution of the left: the working class and the historically disadvantaged people of our society.

“It is for this reason that the SRC vehemently rejects the position taken by management, which sees nothing wrong with the system that is hell-bent on forcing the most disadvantaged of students to pay up large sums of money, just so that they can graduate.”

UWC spokesperson, Gasant Abarder, said the university allowed students with outstanding fees to graduate symbolically upon completion of an acknowledgement of debt agreement.

“The university does not have a rule where it only allows students to graduate once they have settled 30% of their accumulated student debt.

“Each acknowledgement of debt agreement is decided on a case-by-case basis where the student’s individual circumstances are considered and affordability is taken into account.”

Abarder said any graduate with outstanding fees was issued with a completion letter, which could be used to further their studies and employment.

“The completion letter has all the relevant qualification and graduation information required to confirm completion and conferral.

“In addition, we confirm completion and graduation as well as issue transcripts to bursars or employers directly upon request from graduates with fees outstanding.

“Completion letters are accepted across South Africa and internationally, and we do numerous verifications directly to employers where students and/or graduates have outstanding fees,” he said.

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Cape Argus