n South African Journal of Higher Education - Fiscal incidence of public expenditure on HE in South Africa : a comparison between 2000 and 2006

Volume 27, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Currently no distinction is made in the financing of higher education (HE) in South Africa with respect to race. It would thus be expected that all racial groups would receive the same subsidy per student. This article investigates whether it actually works this way in reality. The analysis is done for 2000 and 2006 and estimated subsidies are calculated per headcount of students as well as full-time equivalent (FTE) student numbers. A further distinction is made between calculations for all students and for contact students only. In the last instance a distinction is also made between those students studying in the Social Sciences and those in the Natural Sciences. From this analysis it follows that there are indeed differences between the subsidies paid per student and that Indian and white students still receive the biggest subsidies. This is directly linked to the fact that a greater percentage of these students study in the Natural Sciences (who receive a subsidy 2½ times more than the subsidy of students in the Social Sciences) than is the case for African and Coloured students. This unintended inequality should be addressed at school level already by encouraging a larger percentage of learners to take Mathematics and/or Science.

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