Did you know? According to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, a total of 408 000 applications for full tertiary study funding have been received as at February 2018. During the Budget Speech we learned that R57 billion has been allocated for free higher education and training. Although the exact process and arrangements remain unclear, government will be assisting students from households earning less than R350 000 per year. At present this will only be applicable to first year students and will be phased out to second and later year students over the next five years.

Many have argued for years, and students have campaigned most bravely, that government assistance, which has been available for primary school and high school education for years now, would be of much greater help when it comes to the very expensive tertiary education.

Let’s quickly recap on government assistance at school-level. Did you know that schools may not refuse to give a child his/ her report due to arrear school fees? Schools may also not deny a child participation due to arrear school fees. A parent may apply for exemption from school fees by asking the principal for the necessary exemption forms (partial or full exemption). The School Governing Body will then consider the application together with reasons, proof of income, etc. You may expect a written reply after more or less one week. One may also appeal the outcome by sending your written response to the Head of the Department of Education in your province. Allow at least one month for the Head of the Department of Education in your province to consider your application and to reply in writing.

You know these famous words, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ Our former President, Nelson Mandela.