Briefing the media at the Imbizo Centre in Cape Town, on Tuesday, the Statistician-General said the Financial Statistics of Higher Education Institutions 2015 report shows that enrolments at universities have been rising since 2006 until 2015.
“Student enrolment in Higher Education grew by 32.5% from 2006 to 2015. So that’s the enrolment – it grew from 700 000 to almost a million in 2015,” he said.
He said first year students constituted 170 000 of those that were registered to study in 2015. He said before 2015, they were fewer.
Meanwhile, the Statistician-General said grants by national government to Higher Education increased by 144% over a ten year period from 2006 to 2015.
He said grants received by the public Higher Education institutions in 2015 amounted to R26.9 billion, which was R1.5 billion more compared with 2014 (R25.4 billion).
The increase could be attributed to an increase in transfer payments from the Department of Higher Education and Training to the University of Witwatersrand, Sol Plaatjie University and the inclusion of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University for the first time in the 2015 financial year, the Statistician-General said.
He said salaries of universities comprise about 58% of the total Higher Education expenditure over the ten-year period.
“On average, income from tuition fees increased by 12.7% per annum over the ten year period – well above inflation of 2006 to 2015.
“The annual rise in tuition fees for tertiary education (consumer price index) in 2015 was 9.8%. In 2016, it was 0% and for 2017, it has been set to not more than 8%.”
Income for universities
The Statistician-General said universities had a total income of R63.1 billion from operating activities for the financial year that ended in December 2015.
He said this was R4.9 billion higher than the income that was received in the 2014 financial year.
The increase was mainly due to “other receipts” like tuition fees [R36.2 billion], amongst others, as well as grants [R26.9 billion] received from the Department of Higher Education and Training.
He said cash receipts from “other receipts” went up by R3.4 billion – from R32.8 billion in 2014 to R36.2 billion in 2015.
While the increase in cash receipts from “other receipts” was due to increases in sales of goods and services and tuition fees by the University of South Africa, University of Pretoria and the University of Witwatersrand, he said the increase in grant funding can be attributed to an increase in transfer payments from the department to the University of Witswatersrand, Sol Plaatje University and the inclusion of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University for the first time in the 2015 financial year.