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UKZN alumni donate R1m towards historical debt, registration fees

The Convocation Executive Committee of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), led by its President, Fanle Sibisi, heeded the call for financial support made by the university management and donated R1 million towards the 15% required for the registration fees from students.

The body representing the university alumni said it was lending support to the students after the call for all stakeholders to assist in the financial challenges currently facing the university with regard to the historical student debt and registration fees.

UKZN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Nana Poku, expressed his concern and subsequently outlined what has been the challenges regarding the current state of the university since the commencement of the current academic year.

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal made a call to all stakeholders to get involved and assist with any possible amicable solutions to the present challenge. From his report it emerged that student debt has climbed from R600 million in (2010) to R1.7 billion in (2019), and therefore he asserted that the university does not possess the financial capacity to write off students' debt.

The committee noted the current financial crisis of the students should be an issue of all the university stakeholders concerned since the challenges of student debt, poverty and unemployment are the realities of our current economic situation, which are confronted by majority of the families where our students come from.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to the current situation as it is calling for everyone to come together and contribute towards the solution in achieving a common goal. Against this and the plea from the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, we as the Convocation Executive Committee of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, are donating an amount of R1 000 000 that will assist some of the students who have not been in a position to register due to historical debts as well as unaffordability," said Sibisi.

The proposed criteria:

* The funds must assist 60% of undergraduate students and 40% will go towards the funds that will assist our post-graduate students.* The targeted students will be students who are from disadvantage backgrounds and whose family income falls under the R350 000 per annum threshold.* We are hoping that the funds will also assist the students towards the required 15% payment and also can cover some of the historical debt.

Noting that more funding is needed, he also humbly requested and challenged all other university stakeholders to come on board and get involved in assisting and saving our university.