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THERE is no such thing as free higher education: the debate is really about who should pay. Last week the Wits student representative council published a proposal via social media. It proposes several sources of funding, including higher taxes on the wealthy, a windfall tax on companies that benefited from apartheid, the redirection of funds from the skills development levy, and an infrastructure fund to be funded by JSE-listed companies.One disappointing feature of the document is that there is no engagement with previous policy proposals, such as from the Centre for Higher Education Transformation or the 2010 Department of Higher Education and Training review of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, let alone my own previously published proposals for funding university students.The Wits SRC proposal has some weaknesses. The main one is that it describes higher education purely as a public good. The authors’ view is that producing graduates has a benefit on society broadly, an...

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