The University of Pretoria is on the verge of being in deficit after being owed more than R200 million by students, according to a report in Business Day.
This follows reports that two other major universities – the University of Witswaterstrand and the University of Cape Town are reportedly headed the same way. Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib told Business Day in January that the university was on the verge of its first deficit in 11 years, while UCT reportedly said it would reach the same problem in three years time.
Business Day said universities have had to find their own sources of funding since the freeze on fee increases in 2016, as well as universities having to scrap registration fees for some students.
According to the report, the University of Pretoria received R1.6 billion in government subsidies and grants in 2015 while the rest of its R5.5 billion revenue came from fees, donations and gifts.
The University's spokesman Rikus Delport told Business Day: "In order for the university council ... to approve a break-even budget, the university has to withdraw funds from existing reserves, [because] part of operational expenses are funded from reserves."
The University reportedly has cash reserves for 2017 but its running costs are R320 million per month, and its funding is limited, the paper said.
The Student Representative Council is reportedly in talks with the private sector to raise funds for the so-called missing middle students.
A previous version of this story erroneously stated in the headline that the University of Pretoria was "on the verge of bankruptcy". This has been corrected.