Water cannon were used against protesting students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Westville campus. Photo: Jacques Naude

Durban - The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) is owed a whopping R800 million by its students, it revealed on Thursday.

Its student leadership has however rejected a hike in registration fees, arguing that UKZN must instead reach out to its well-heeled alumni as part of an aggressive fundraising strategy.

Student Representative Council (SRC) president Sthabiso Mthethwa says fee hikes have only put paying tuition further out of reach for UKZN students.

The university’s management is negotiating various fee proposals with its student leadership, which includes increasing the registration fee by 10 percent every year for the next two to three years.

The registration fee for this year was R3 250 for all students other than those dependent on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

UKZN spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the current registration fee was set at about 10 percent of a student’s total tuition.

UKZN is also reviewing its Registration Appeals Committee policy. The committee was created to help students by allowing them to pay their fees over a two-year period..

However, UKZN had found that students who this arrangement was extended to, had not paid more than 10 percent of their fees over the two-year period.

On Wednesday, a group of 200 students staged a protest at UKZN’s Westville campus over the proposed registration fee increases.

The Mercury asked other universities what they charged for registration.

The University of Cape Town has no registration fee, but an initial payment of R19 200 was due before registration this year, which was deducted from the total cost of tuition fees.

The University of the Witwatersrand said that its upfront fee was R9 349.

The Mercury