DUT UPDATE ON STUDENT PROTEST
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Student Representative Council
FROM: Prof RH du Pré
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
SUBJECT: STUDENT ISSUES
DATE: 28 January 2008
Your memorandum dated 23 January 2008 refers.
Kindly find hereto management’s response to the issues that you raised in your correspondence.
ISSUES RAISED BY THE SRC
a) 2007 outstanding fees & rollovers for students as per 24 July 2007 agreement
Since 2002, management has been acceding to requests for roll overs. This is unsustainable. The total student debt at DUT is R175 m. For 2007 academic year, the outstanding student debt is R72 m.
The outstanding student debt for NSFAS students currently stands at R10m as at 28 Jan 08. It must be noted that this amount was originally R15.5 m as at 08 Jan 2008.
Should DUT agree to rolling over 2007 outstanding debt, this will increase the current outstanding debt tremendously. This will cripple the university.
a) The roll over agreement was only in place in respect of 2006 fees for the 2007 academic year as per Council’s approval. This agreement was never intended to be ongoing and Council has not approved any rollovers for the 2008 academic year.
The Vice-Chancellor has, however, agreed and is committed to assisting academically successful students to re-register in the following ways:
Amount owing: Amount payable
Allowed to register provided they settle this amount by 30 June 2008. This will account for at least 50% of the NSFAS students.
From R1001 to R5000
A minimum of R1000 plus 40% of the outstanding balance at registration.
From R5001 to R10 000 A minimum of R2600 plus 30% of the outstanding balance at registration.
From R10 001 and above A minimum of R4820 plus 20% of the outstanding balance at registration.
These students will be required to submit an acknowledgement of debt form, signed by a surety, in respect of the remaining balance, which must be settled before 30 June 2008.
This recommendation must serve before Council.
This is over and above the first instalment due on registration. The above concessions are subject to students meeting the academic requirements for 2008.
If eligible for this concession, students will be required to register in the late registration period, from the 4 February to the 8th February 2008.
b) Registration fee for Semester students to be R1250.00
b) The first instalment was approved by Council. The SRC is part of Council and therefore part of the decision-making process at Council.
c) There shall be no registration fee for all NSFAS students.
c) No students at DUT pay registration fees. What students pay is the first instalment which, when paid, reduces the balance of the fees owing. In addition, NSFAS students are currently not required to pay the first instalment.
d) Reject increase on accommodation fee due to current state residences.
d) The residence fees was established in consultation with the House Committee and the Central Housing Committee. The recommendation was then submitted to the Council.
The first instalment payable at registration for residences was approved by Council, where the SRC participated in the meeting. NSFAS students are currently not required to pay the first instalment.
e) Late registration fee e) Late registration fee would be waived.
a) Building a student village project.
a) In July 2007 the selection for the bidders who would be in a position to develop the student village, was undertaken. Thereafter, the selected bidder developed the design details which were made available at the end of October. We are now in the process of undertaking the affordability model exercise which is being prepared by the Internal Auditors of the University. When this is completed it will be sent to the Finance Committee of Council and Council for final approval. The intention of the affordability model is to ensure that such a building, when constructed, can be affordable as per the fees that students pay for such student accommodation. It must be kept in mind that the construction of such a student village will take at least one and half to two years to complete, given the size and scale of this project.
b) Computer Labs at DUT off-campus residences before October.
b) Management agrees to place computers which do not have them as yet before October. This is subject to us finding secure rooms in such residences.
c) Refurbishment of all DUT-owned residences.
c) Renovations in Residences have been ongoing in 2007, and will continue in 2008 in a planned maintenance programme. Council acknowledged the need for maintenance to be accelerated.
d) More spaces for 99% of students that have applied for residences in 2008.
d) DUT has 16 residences, 9 of which are internal, and the balance are outsourced.
-In total, 2549 students are accommodated in both DUT and outsourced residences.
-All students who have applied in 2007 for a space in residences in 2008 and qualify, have been allocated a space.
-The University is in the process of registering students for 2008. Academic registration must be completed before residence registration.
-Currently all students that have applied and qualify have been allocated space.
e) Student allocation should be redone.
e) There is an Allocations Committee, of which students are members, that allocates rooms as per applications. Therefore, Management does not intend to interfere with this process.
f) We demand that the processing of all cafeteria contracts be finished before commencement of lectures
f) Management will ensure that there are proper catering services operating on all our campuses before lectures commence. This is standard practice.
a) New Bus Company
a) The present bus company has been servicing DUT students since August 2007 without incident. While DUT Management believes that the buses are roadworthy, or otherwise they would not be used, management, is happy to receive from the SRC specific issues listed down as to why the SRC believes that this bus service is problematic. Then management would seriously look into these matters.
The current bus company was chosen last year in consultation with SRC in 2007. The SRC was also involved in the inspection of the current bus company. This bus service is only available to residence students that are transported to DUT campuses.
b) Shuttle services on campus, for campus to campus services.
b) The shuttle service operating between residences and our campuses, and between campuses is operating at regular intervals.
In a special meeting of the Executive Management of DUT with the SRC on 2 August 2006, the issue of payment for the academic records was discussed.
The issue here is that students were still being charged for copies of their academic record.
No charge will be levied for statements of results for currently registered students.
We demand that the university must adhere to DoE and Council resolution and instruction by increasing its intake for 2008 by 3000 students.
There is no DoE or Council instruction to increase student numbers by 3000. The University is bound by the enrolment targets that are set by the Department of Education and DUT is within these targets.
USING PRIVATE BANKS FOR OUTSTANDING STUDENT FEES
We as the SRC have not been informed of the logistics and the policy of such a decision as a result we are unable to inform the student population of such a process.
ABSA, Standard Bank, FNB and EduLoan are additional facilities provided for students and parents who choose to make use of them to assist in accessing finance.
a) We demand that no student be charged for student cards.
b) We demand that students be given new cards upon registration.