Financial appeals process for 2017

16 February 2017
16 February 2017

Dear students

As part of the SRC Candidates / Shackville TRC agreement, the UCT executive committed to the principle that, as far as possible, students on financial aid and/or eligible for financial aid (inclusive of GAP students) who are academically eligible to graduate or to progress to the next academic year of study, but who are prevented from doing so due to affordability, will be allowed to graduate or progress. In line with this agreement, a Rapid Response Task Team (RRTT) was established and has been working with a number of internal stakeholders, including the Undergraduate Financial Aid Appeals Committee to ensure that this year?s appeals process is more transparent and responsive.

UCT appeals process for the 2017 academic year: Criteria for undergraduate students

Financial aid and GAP funded students (means-tested students)

2017 National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) academically ineligible students (passed less than 50% of courses) will be assisted financially if they meet the following criteria:

  • Students that will be 2017 finalists within N+3[1] years of funding will receive UCT-financed financial aid or GAP funding, as per normal funding rules.
  • Students who were first years in 2016 will be granted a concession, and normal financial aid or GAP funding will be reinstated with UCT financing for 2017.

Students will be required to reapply for NSFAS for 2018 and will have to meet the NSFAS funding rules and criteria.

What you need to do: Nothing. The Student Financial Aid Office will automatically apply the above criteria following the release of academic results.

2017 NSFAS academically eligible financial aid and GAP funded students with fee debt

Students with debt from 2016 can approach the Student Financial Aid Office directly for assistance towards their fee debt. Higher expected family contribution (EFC) students will be expected to contribute towards their outstanding fees, while poorer students will be assisted in full.

What you need to do: Do not complete an appeals form. Students must visit the Financial Aid Office for assistance.

2016 NSFAS academically ineligible students with debt

  • Students who lost 2016 funding due to the NSFAS 50% rule will be considered for a UCT-financed debt-to-loan conversion offer, provided that they receive confirmation of NSFAS funding for 2017 (having met the NSFAS requirements).
  • Successful students will, in principle, be requested to pay their EFC.

What you need to do: The financial aid appeals form is available on the Financial Aid website. All completed forms must be submitted to the Appeals Committee via by latest 7 March 2017. Mark the subject heading as Financial aid / GAP debt appeal, followed by your student number.

Non-financial aid / GAP funded student debt appeals (appeals from students not means tested)

Students who have not been means tested, and have outstanding 2016 debt, can send an appeal which will be considered on merit and subject to budget availability, as a student?s corporate sponsor may not have delivered on the promised payment. These appeals will be means tested, and successful students will, in principle, be requested to pay their EFC.

What you need to do: The financial aid appeals form is available on the Financial Aid website. All completed forms must be submitted to the Appeals Committee via by latest 7 March 2017. Mark the subject heading as Non-financial aid / GAP student appeal, followed by your student number.

New and continuing students with UCT offers awaiting NSFAS funding confirmation

Students who are South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant recipients or from quintile 1, 2 and 3 high schools, and have received academic offers from UCT, will be provided with funding while UCT engages with NSFAS to ensure that the application outcome of these recipients is finalised. This is to ensure that such students? academic performance is not compromised due to problems not of their own making. Students must provide proof that they have applied for NSFAS funding.

Postgraduate, SADC and international students

Unfortunately financial aid is not available to international students, including Southern African Development Community (SADC) students. All NSFAS and UCT financial aid is geared towards supporting South African students who are completing an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification.

What you need to do: Nothing. No funding is available for these categories of students.

Government Grant Funding (DHET 8% grant ? only applicable to 2017 fees)

Government, through the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), will subsidise the fee adjustment, which was capped at 8% on the 2015 fee, for all qualifying registered students with gross family income up to R600 000 per annum in 2017. This is not a loan but a grant. The grant will reflect as a credit note on the student account once eligibility has been determined and validated. Read the full communication...

All students who are eligible for NSFAS funding or for UCT?s financial aid, are automatically eligible for this grant and will not have to apply (these students have already been means tested). In addition, students from quintile 1, 2 and 3 high schools will automatically be eligible for the grant. All students who believe they are eligible will have to apply for the grant on a DHET application form. The application form must be completed and sent back to the UCT Financial Aid Office with supporting documents. The DHET grant will cover up to 8% of the 2017 fee increase (tuition and university-managed accommodation only) for all eligible undergraduate and postgraduate students whose combined household income is less than R600 000.

What you need to do: Please complete the DHET application form...

UCT?s support to undergraduate students in financial need

As it should be expected, the financial budget is very limited and we encourage students to apply as soon as possible to ensure that their appeals can be considered before registration closes. No appeals will be accepted after the deadline.

UCT is very pleased that we are able to work with donors in addressing the issue of financial aid and we trust that deserving students will benefit from this process. The involvement of the RRTT was particularly valuable and I would like to thank all those involved in the process for developing the 2017 appeals criteria.

It is important to note that the appeals process by its very nature means that students have not met the minimum requirements set by funders and therefore require concessions to be made to allow them to continue with their studies in 2017.


Professor Francis Petersen
Acting Vice-Chancellor

[1] Students will be considered for funding within the minimum duration (n) of the undergraduate programme plus an additional 3 years of study only if they are a final year student.

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