South Africa

MAVERICK CITIZEN: Damelin college: Students up in arms over empty promises of refunds

The Mowbray campus is one of 14 Damelin colleges built around South Africa in the past 78 years. The private tertiary education provider is owned by Educor, which also owns CityVarsity and Durban Central Technical College, among others. (Photo: Joyrene Kramer)

Students enrolled at Damelin college have gone online to voice their anger over promised refunds that have not materialised years later. The college is not saying why this has happened and how it will be resolved.

Students have been pleading for years for Damelin college to provide them with certificates, textbooks, access to online classes and refunds that are owed to them. 

In December 2020, students held a sit-in to demand their refunds. Then, two weeks ago, students demanded refunds after the college closed its Nelspruit campus allegedly without informing them. Scores of students have written about their experiences online. Some of the complaints date as far back as 2015.

One student who spoke to Maverick Citizen, Idah Makalani, applied for a refund of R16,000 in February 2020. She had to repeat the refund application twice because employees left the college and failed to file her forms. Her calls to Damelin were put on hold or simply cut off after she enquired about her pending refund.

Despite claiming to not know of the matter when Maverick Citizen made enquiries, Damelin made contact with the student and refunded the money on the same day. 

Maverick Citizen sent a list of questions to the college, but Damelin claimed they had no record of any requests for refunds.

The questions pertained to the college’s refund policy, admittance of international students and when Makalani could expect to receive the refund she requested in February 2020.

In the interests of transparency we share our questions to Damelin, as well as Damelin’s response:

  1. What is your refund policy? Please may we have a copy of this document.
  2. Who is responsible for organising and paying out refunds to students?
  3. How many students have requested refunds since the pandemic and lockdown began in 2020? What were their main reasons?
  4. How many students are owed refunds currently?
  5. Did the process of processing refunds ever stop during the pandemic?
  6. What is your policy on registering students from other countries, specifically other African countries? Please may we have a copy of this document.
  7. Do you assist them with study permits? If so, how?
  8. Is a study permit a prerequisite for international students to register? Do you make sure that students are informed of this?
  9. How has Damelin assisted international students during the pandemic when offices and borders were closed?
  10. Do sales consultants earn commission on the degree courses they sell to students?

Damelin’s response:

Damelin response to Daily M…

We believe several of our questions remain unanswered. If any students have had issues with negotiating their refunds from Damelin, we invite them to contact us at [email protected]. DM/MC

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