1. Context

1.1 The central premise that underpins the policy framework for the transformation of the higher education in Education White Paper 3: A Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education (July 1997), is that the higher education system must be planned, governed and funded as a single national co-ordinated system.

1.2 The emphasis on planning is informed by the fact that if the higher education system is to respond to the national development agenda in terms of access, redress and human resource development needs, the size and shape of the system cannot be left to the vagaries of the market, in particular, unco-ordinated institutional decisions on student enrolments and programme offerings.

1.2.1 In the market model, the role of the Government is limited to funding student demand and to correcting any market failures that may occur. However, under apartheid the market model was itself distorted by ideological factors, which restricted and constrained institutional and student choices and decisions.

1.3 The higher education system therefore needs to be steered to meet national goals and priorities through a combination of instruments, namely, planning, funding and quality assurance. The role and inter-relationship between these three instruments is outlined in the diagram below:

1.4 The planning model of higher education funding therefore involves three steps; (i) the Ministry determines national policy goals and objectives; (ii) institutions develop institutional three-year rolling plans indicating how they intend to address the national goals and objectives; (iii) interaction between the Ministry and institutions resulting in the approval of institutional plans, which would be the trigger for the release of funds based on the quantum of funds available.

2. The New Funding Framework

2.1 The new framework is a goal-oriented and performance-related, which distributes government grants to institutions in line with national goals and priorities and approved institutional plans

    1. It depart from the assumptions of the old formula in two key respects:

    1. The size and shape of the higher education system cannot be determined by student demand and institutional decisions alone.

(ii) The starting point for determining the allocation of funds cannot be institutional costs. In the old formula, the allocation of funds was linked to the generation of an "ideal income" for individual institutions based on the determination of actual costs, irrespective of affordability criteria or whether the costs are linked to the principal activity of higher education institutions, that is, teaching, research and community service.

2.3 In the new framework, the starting point for the allocation of funds to higher education institutions is not institutional costs, but affordability linked to the achievement of national policy goals and objectives. The funds allocated are not designed to meet specific kinds or levels of institutional costs, but are intended to pay for the delivery of teaching and research-related services and outputs linked to approved institutional three-year "rolling" plans.

2.4 The fact that costs are not the starting point of the model does not mean that they are unimportant or that it would not be possible to determine the underlying unit costs underpinning institutional activities. It is critical for institutions to monitor costs, as it is their responsibility to decide how they design and manage their academic activities with the available funds. Similarly, the Government would have to monitor costs to ensure that the quantum of funds available is sufficient to enable institutions to discharge their academic activities and meet output targets.

3. Categories of Grants

The funding framework has two main elements:

3.1 Block Grants

The block grants consist of four sub-categories:

3.1.1 Teaching Output Grants

In line with the proposals in the National Plan for Higher Education, which emphasises the importance of enhancing research accountability and productivity, research funding will be determined solely on the basis of the following research outputs:


An institution research whose research output is below the normative benchmark set, would be eligible for a research development grant on the submission of an approved research development plan.

3.1.2 Teaching Output Grants

In line with the National Plan for Higher Education, which emphasises the importance of improving student success, throughput and graduation rates, the funding framework makes provision for teaching output grants to act as an incentive to encourage institutions to put in place steps to improve their success, throughput and graduation rates.

An institution whose teaching output is below the normative benchmark set, would be eligible for a teaching development grant on the submission of an approved teaching development plan.

3.1.3 Teaching Input Grants

Teaching input grants will be generated by enrolled totals of full-time equivalent (FTE) students based student enrolment plans approved by the Minister of Education.

3.1.4 Institutional Factor Grants

The teaching input grant may be adjusted to take account of special circumstances related to the teaching services offered by institutions. In the initial years of the implementation of the new framework, the teaching input grants of institutions may be adjusted to take account of these two special circumstances:

The Ministry is also committed to the introduction of an institutional factor to take into account the needs of multi-campus institutions, which would emerge as a result of the current institutional restructuring process. The Ministry will, during 2004/05, undertake investigations into the operations of the newly merged and other multi-campus institutions to determine the basis for the allocation of an appropriate institutional factor.

3.2 Earmarked Grants

Earmarked grants are funds allocated to institutions for specific or designated purposes. These will be used for the following broad purposes: