SU council approves revised admissions policy

Hayley Grammar

Stellenbosch University’s (SU) admission policy is set to change after the SU Council approved the revised admissions policy on Saturday 11 February.

The revised policy will be applicable from 1 March 2017 when the applications for the 2018 intake of newcomer students open.

The long-term objective of the policy is to contribute to a non-racial and equal society no longer requiring race-based redress.

“It creates an equitable, transparent and reasonable process for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at SU.

“This is in line with the University’s commitment to becoming more inclusive by broadening access to the institution and deepening its transformation, as contained in SU’s guiding policy document, its Institutional Intent and Strategy,” said George Steyn, Council Chair.

Vice rector of learning and teaching, Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, said that SU is committed to an equitable, transparent and reasonable process for admission.

“In South Africa the spotlight has fallen on access to higher education, therefore in revising our current admissions policy, SU gives effect to its obligation arising from the Constitutional right of access to higher education, and the legislative duty to ensure that its admissions policy provides appropriate measures for the redress of past inequalities and not unfairly discriminate in any way,” said Schoonwinkel.

He emphasised that SU does not in any manner condone a system of racial classification as it was used under the apartheid regime, or seek to perpetuate the effects of racial classification under that system.

“We do, however, recognise that for most applicants who grew up in South Africa, the reality is that one or both parents are likely to have been racially classified in the past.

“Furthermore, the University recognises that past discriminatory practices still generally correlate to present disadvantage, which must be addressed by corrective measures.”

The admissions procedure in the previous admissions policy (2012) highlighted how all students wanting admission to SU needed to obtain results for the National Benchmarking Test’s (NBT’s) and National Senior Certificate, including Independent Examination Board (IEB), in a ratio of 40:60 respectively, based on their faculties specific mark requirements. There was no focus on race or socio-economic status (SES).

The admissions procedure in the revised admissions policy reads as follows: “As applications are received, applicants who meet the minimum academic criteria are ranked in descending order in accordance with their academic results at school and classified according to race and SES”.

The policy continues by stating that faculties will admit the highest ranked applicants to fill the places assigned for academic achievement without regard to race or SES.

“Thereafter the faculty admits the highest ranked BCI (Black, Coloured and Indian) and SES applicants until the respective targets for each category have been met.

“If there are still places remaining, the best performing applicants, will be admitted without regard to race or SES status.”

The policy has gone the full route of institutional approval, with inputs from all 10 of SU’s faculties, its Senate and its Institutional Forum, it was also open for public input.

The university community as well as the broad public were invited to comment during October 2016, and the final draft was comprehensively discussed at a special Council meeting on 11 February 2017, where the Policy was approved.

“We have revised our admission policy as a leading national higher-education institution, a national asset serving the national interest and the nation as a whole.

“The policy promotes access and success for students from diverse communities. Stellenbosch is a university for all South Africans,” said Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector.

The revised policy will be available on the SU website ( once the changes made by Council have been included in the final version.

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