Question NW449 to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

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16 March 2021 - NW449

Profile picture: Tambo, Mr S

Tambo, Mr S to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

What (a) total number of students who graduated from universities and/or universities of technology during the period 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2020 did not receive their official transcripts and qualification documents due to outstanding fees and (b) are the relevant details of the (i) name of each specified university and/or university of technology, (ii) number of relevant students at each such university and (iii) amount owed to each university?




Number of students who did not receive degree certificates due to outstanding fees    (period 2010 – 2020)

Fee amount outstanding for these students

System(s) is in place for students to access their results if they are owing resources to the university.



Cape Peninsula University of Technology

The current situation is that both the Certificates and Academic Records are released to students even if they owe fees to the University. Management is considering the matter with a view to make representation to Council to review same.

R1 130 000 000.00



Central University of Technology

12 985

R1 782 552 433.72

No information provided.


Durban University of Technology

5 155

R99 134 074.40

Graduation certificates are withheld for those in arrears. Assistance is provided to those seeking employment and/or access to studies at other institutions by sending an academic transcript (student record) to these institutions directly. Graduates also receive a letter indicating completion of studies.


Mangosuthu University of Technology

3 870

R74 678 403.16

No information provided.


Mpumalanga University

No response


Nelson Mandela University


R62 857 952.00

To assist our students in gaining employment, the University has a standard process in place as a concession by providing proof of completion of qualifications directly to potential employers. The students owing the University fees approach the University and provide the University with the contact details of the potential employers.


North-West University


R18 750 358.17

NWU does not withhold any transcripts and that any person who had studied at the NWU has access to his/her full academic record.


Rhodes University


R15 246 000.00

Options for payment plans.

Students receive a letter of invitation to graduation so that they participate in graduation. 

Where prospective employers request, and with the student’s permission, results are sent to the prospective employers.

Parchments are released to students owing less than R1 000.


Sefako Makgatho University

No response


Sol Plaatje University



Since 2016 to 2020, SPU did not withhold any degree certificates and academic transcripts.


Stellenbosch University


R18 831 981.40

Students with outstanding debt at graduation are allowed to attend the ceremony, but do not receive their degree certificate.  They receive a communique to contact the student fees office to enter into a monthly payment arrangement. Where students are unable to afford a monthly payment arrangement, they are required to sign an acknowledgement of debt form. Once either the monthly payment arrangement or acknowledgement of debt is in place, the official academic transcripts are sent directly to potential employers/other tertiary institutions upon the graduate’s request.


Tshwane University of Technology

11 255

R4 401 096 000.00

No Information provided.


University of Cape Town


R14 077 628.79

Outstanding fees are regulated by Council policy and the Council approved UCT policy is explicit: qualifier students with outstanding balances on their fee account will not receive an academic transcript and will not be permitted to graduate.  At UCT, in cases where a transcript is withheld, and where students so request, UCT issues written confirmation to a prospective employer that the student concerned has met qualification requirements. This provision assists the student in applying for and being considered for a job.


University of Fort Hare

5 922

R285 977 088.00

No information provided.


University of Johannesburg

7 722

R537 674 000.00

No information provided.


University of KwaZulu-Natal

17 840

R868 000 000.00

Every graduate is entitled to an official academic record/transcript on application and an official letter confirming ‘Degree Complete’, again on application and payment of the a fee.

On settlement of fees outstanding and the requisite ‘fee clearance’, a graduate can formally request to be issued with their withheld degree/diploma certificate(s).


University of Limpopo

10 345

R342 579 200.45

All students are allowed to attend their graduation ceremonies. They are also provided with a transcript of academic record for free, and the University does confirm with a potential employer that the affected student has complied with the requirements for a particular qualification. Each student is expected to make a payment plan with the University. The certificate is released upon full settlement of the debt.


University of Pretoria

1 092

R34 872 944.53

It should also be noted that the University has and will make available official transcripts, at the request of a student, to a potential employer so as not to prevent gainful employment of University


PS: It should be noted that 1 597 students who owe the University a total amount of R29 898 160.68 received their official transcripts and qualification documents as they have entered into payment plans with the University.


University of South Africa

No response


University of the Free State

4 023

R64 968 521.11

Students who owe fees may request their academic records from the Deputy Registrar: Student Academic Services. There is a process in place to assist these students by sending the relevant documents directly to their potential employer or educational institution.


University of the Western Cape

No response


University of the Witwatersrand

3 426

R224 320 052.50

It should be noted that students who have fees outstanding can request their official academic transcript reflecting their results and degree completion. The transcript does indicate that there is an outstanding amount owed to the University. We do however assist students with a letter to confirm that their conduct was satisfactory if they have a debt outstanding should they require this for work purposes. Students who have not graduated are also assisted with letters confirming the completion of their degree for work purposes. Students who can bring the total amount of their debt down to an amount of R15 000 can sign an Acknowledgement of Debt, which enables them to graduate.


University of Venda

1 405

R42 592 027.82

Students can view their results on the students’ portal but certificates are withheld.


University of Zululand

5 450

R83 227 792.00

Students are furnished with a letter confirming that they have graduated but due to outstanding fees, their certificates have not been issued, which they may furnish to external parties.


Vaal University of Technology

3 402

R118 873 105.00

No information provided.


Walter Sisulu University 

20 088

R526 000 000.00

No information provided.


106 494

R10 403 730 362.60



The submission is based on responses received from 21 universities as at 8 March 2021.

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