Dear 2021 UJ students.
Our University has now concluded the registration process of both new and returning students, after weeks of delays due to challenges that have affected all institutions of higher learning across the country. It all was possible because of the commitment and dedication of our staff and students to ensuring access to quality education.
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has several initiatives to assist many of our students who ordinarily would not have had access to education. These include, but not limited to:
- Setting aside R20 million to assist students with the first initial payments, known as the registration fee.
- In addition to the ordinary merit and postgraduate bursaries (over R140 million in 2020, and similarly this year), we set aside R9 million for a bursary fund for Advanced Diplomas. The R140m has partially or fully supported 3,700 students in 2020, and we expect a similar outcome in 2021.
- While we were still awaiting the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding outcomes, the UJ Council granted permission for eligible first-time entering students to register without paying the required registration fee. To date, 6 481 NSFAS funded first-time entering students have registered.
- Although the University has not yet received payment from NSFAS for the current academic year, we have advanced meal, book and accommodation allowances to students who are assessed to meet the NSFAS requirements.
- We negotiated with service providers of Privately-Owned Student Accommodation (POSAs) not to evict its students, particularly those with confirmed approvals of NSFAS, bursaries and other sponsorships; and
- The University continues to raise funds to assist academically performing Missing Middle students. Between 2016 and 2020, UJ raised R916 million, which covered tuition and living expenses for 13 978 students.
Furthermore, in support of our students, we have put in place several measures to enable students to excel academically. These measures include the provision of:
- Data, supplementary devices and on-campus unlimited Wi-Fi. The provision is made for devices on a loan basis to students who did not receive any from NSFAS.
- Well-balanced and nutritional meal packs to deserving students; and
- Online tutorial services to students, including the support for students staying in University Residences.
As you would be aware, there is always a high demand of academic spaces from prospective students wanting to join UJ. Of course, this is not surprising, given that UJ has, within a short space of its existence since establishment in 2005, built a culture of academic excellence through the consistent production of dynamic and skilled graduates who can succeed in a competitive work environment. In 2020, for instance, we received applications from as many as 240 000 Grade 12 learners who wished to study at UJ in this current academic year. The learners were competing for about 11 000 spaces for first-time entering students.
We are proud that, despite these challenges of a growing national demand for access to education and the threats of COVID-19, we managed to enroll 100% of students in relation to approved capacity.
The University is part of all institutional bodies, which constantly look at the best practices and strategies for access to quality education. Engagements with relevant key stakeholders, including the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as well as NSFAS are continuing.
As we focus on the important task of implementing the academic programme, we would like to thank you for your understanding and patience throughout what has been a challenging period. Congratulations for being part of the UJ Community, and we look forward to yet another successful academic year. Should you require any assistance, including for psycho-social support, do not hesitate to contact the relevant divisions and Student Affairs on the campuses.
Times mentioned in this newsletter refer to the South African time-zone.