- Published on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 17:24
- Written by Tina Hsu
The allocation of funds and scholarships through the Dean’s Merit List programme has caused concern amongst some students at UCT; VARSITY investigates.
The Dean’s Merit List is published annually in recognition of high-achieving students at UCT. Based on academic merit, such students across all faculties may be eligible for funding from the university through scholarships and bursaries. These range from entrance scholarships to faculty scholarships.
Scholarships in each faculty are awarded according to a particular process. Academic Manager of the Health Science Faculty Jason Stoffberg said, “There is a very specific process that we follow.” Some questions arose last year and the process has since been investigated by persons outside the faculty. They reported that “allocations were fair.”
“We have a policy which we do not deviate from,” added Devar Pillay, Academic Manager from the Commerce Faculty.
However, according to a student at UCT who was on the Dean’s Merit List for three years, “It remains a mystery to me how they allocate it; I never received any funding from the university and when I enquired no one seemed to know how things worked.”
UCT’s faculty student handbooks state that entrance scholarships are rewarded to potential UCTstudents on the basis of their high school results. Faculty scholarships are re-awarded in subsequent years of study. Students who do not receive funding but maintain a high standard of academic work may be placed on their faculty’s Dean’s Merit List.
To be considered for the Dean’s Merit List, a student needs to maintain a high GPA on a full course load. The Law faculty requires a student to maintain a minimum average of 65% to be considered whereas the Humanities, Commerce, Health Science, Engineering and the Built Environment (EBE) and Science faculties recognise students who acquire a minimum 70% average.
Medical students are placed by maintaining the minimum of a First Class Pass of 75%. A letter of commendation from the faculty dean is issued to the students who are placed on the Dean’s Merit List.
Students who find themselves on the Dean’s List may not automatically receive funding from the faculty. Each faculty is allocated funds which are distributed according to its specific regulations which are previously stipulated.
Entrance scholarships are awarded automatically and all students who excel academically in high school may be considered for the scholarship. This scholarship is only available for their first year of study at the university.
Faculty scholarships are re-awarded at the end of each academic year to top students based on academic merit. Law and Humanities faculty scholarships range up to R15 000 to R16 000 respectively, and Health Science faculty scholarships vary from R10 550 to R13 500, depending on the performance of the student. Commerce faculty scholarships reach a maximum of R10 000 per student. All faculties also offer various monetary prizes, medals, named scholarships and awards ranging from R50 to R5 000.
No racial criterion is made and all high-achieving students are eligible to receive faculty scholarships, bursaries and placement on the Dean’s Merit List. Faculties such as Law and Commerce also allocate at least 50% of available funds for Entrance and Faculty Scholarships to students in the redress categories (Black, Chinese, Coloured and Indian South Africans).