Government Grant for "Missing Middle" students announced by Minister of Higher Education and Training in September (application process for 2017)

10 January 2017
Campus announcement
10 January 2017

On 13 December 2016, Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price announced that qualifying students from families with gross incomes of less than R600 000 per annum will not face any increase in tuition or accommodation costs in 2017. We now wish to provide more details about how the Government – through the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) – will assist students from these households.

The DHET grant is a non-repayable grant from the government to subsidise the fee increases to a maximum of 8% for all qualifying registered students with gross family incomes up to R600 000 per annum in 2017. UCT will, in addition, subsidise the further 2% increase on accommodation fees, bringing the total accommodation grant to 10%.

It is important to note that this grant will only become available in 2017 and is subject to registration. At this point there has been no indication that the grant will extend beyond 2017.

As some of you might be aware, the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training (the Fees Commission) is expected to submit its final report to the president by 30 June 2017. The political decisions made in the wake of its recommendations will determine the future university fee landscape, the future of the new model for support and financial assistance to poor and middle income students, and the regulatory framework for setting university fees. Whether or not the DHET grant will continue beyond 2017 will be based on these decisions.

Who qualifies for this grant?

  • Only South African citizens and permanent residents who are studying towards an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification in 2017 will be considered.
  • The applicant and direct family (mother, father, spouse or legal guardian/s) must have a combined GROSS family income of no more than R600 000 per annum.
  • The DHET grant will ONLY cover tuition fees and university-managed accommodation fees.
  • Applicants who applied for NSFAS funding are not required to submit this application; they will automatically be considered.
  • All students who attended Quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools in Grade 12 will be automatically considered upon verification and will not be required to submit this application.
  • Students who are recipients of internal university merit scholarships will be eligible for the 8% grant funding provided they fall within the R600 000 family income cap.
  • Students who are supported through university trust funds or other forms of donor funding will not be eligible.

NSFAS and GAP funded students

All current and new UCT NSFAS and GAP funded students do not have to complete the DHET grant application form (these students have already been means tested); they will automatically qualify for the grant and the results of their means test will be made available to the DHET by NSFAS.

Who must apply?

Undergraduate and postgraduate students who are not on NSFAS or UCT GAP funding but are within the R600 000 annual family income cap have to complete the application form to be considered for the 8% grant. The closing date set for all applications is 24 February 2017.

The application form will have to be supported by evidence of the combined annual family income comprising certified copies of parents’, spouses’ or legal guardians’ identification documents (IDs) together with a form indicating consent to enable the university to conduct a credit check. All applicants must ensure that all the required information is complete and supporting documents provided.

Government has made it clear that the following students do not qualify for this grant

  • All foreign students, including Southern African Development Community (SADC) and international students, will have to pay their full 2017 fees.
  • Students who are recipients of bursaries and scholarships that cover their tuition and accommodation fees (full cost).
  • Any student from a household with an income in excess of R600 000.

The UCT Student Financial Aid Office with the support of the Postgraduate Funding Office will be responsible for all processing all the applications and claiming the grant from the DHET.

Should you require more information or clarity, please contact the Financial Aid Office on 021 650 5094 or email

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