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The changing face of public funding of higher education, with special reference to South Africa

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  • Pierre de Villiers

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Gert Steyn

    ()
    (Institutional Planning Division, University of Stellenbosch)

Abstract

Higher education displays characteristics of both private and public goods and there is a trend worldwide to expect individuals to pay more of the costs of their higher education. In South Africa public funding of higher education decreased from 0.86% of GDP in 1986 to only 0.66% in 2006. Due to the decrease in state appropriations, student tuition fees had to be increased to compensate for this loss of income. In the process staff numbers were kept relatively constant, while student numbers increased at a much faster rate. Two future scenarios, based on public higher education expenditure as a percentage of GDP and on real state allocation per WFTES, are included. Although the qualifications awarded per FTE academic staff member increased over time, the graduation rates of the higher education institutions in South Africa are worsening. High-level research, measured in publication units per FTE academic staff member, shows a disturbing decreasing trend since 1997.

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File URL: http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2007/wp052007/wp-05-2007.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 05/2007.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers36

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Keywords: Higher education; education financing; qualifications;

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