n South African Journal of Education - State funding of universities and technikons 1993 to 2001




The Education White Paper 3 of 1997 indicated that a new funding framework should replace the SAPSE subsidy formula. In March 2001 a new funding framework for higher education was proposed by the Ministry of Education. Comments on the proposal were invited. Since it is evident that the process of finalising a new funding framework for higher education has been set in motion, it is fitting to take stock of the trends in state funding of universities and technikons under the existing funding regime. The revised SAPSE subsidy formulas for universities and for technikons have been applied since 1993 to calculate subsidies for universities and technikons. The purpose of this study was to investigate trends in the funding of the university sector and of the technikon sector since the late 1980s under the SAPSE formula. This was done from a macro-economic point of view. The trends in subsidy allocations to the respective 21 universities and 15 technikons during the years 1993 to 2001 were also studied. Subsidies are generated by student enrolment figures. Therefore, in order to interpret the subsidy allocations, student enrolment trends at institutions were also investigated. It was concluded that the revised SAPSE subsidy formula has ensured stability in the funding of higher education, especially seen from a macro-economic point of view. It is, however, also evident that many institutions have experienced some instability in funding since 1993 as a result either of unrealistically high increases in student enrolments or of unforeseen declines in enrolments.


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