There is a bursary fund available to families who cannot afford the tuition fees… but yes, it would be nice to return to the days when the fund wasn't necessary.
Bursaries in all forms have proven to be problematic.
The reasons for this are:
1) Many students/families are unaware of them, and only see the 'sticker' price. They then conclude it's not an option for them. For many low-income families there simply isn't an awareness that a bursary exists, let alone the understanding of where/how to look into it further.
2) Asking for the bursary has a certain social stigma to it. Many families would not feel comfortable doing so, and are therefore excluded.
3) Where bursaries exist, but only in sufficient amount to fund a small minority of students, those of low-income means may be stigmatized by their peer group, who are considerably more affluent. That may well be intentional (kids can be mean) but need not be. It's simply that other kids get to go do that thing after school that you can't afford; or can enjoy automatically any elaborate field/international trips, where the low-income student would again need to request help.
I'm a big believer in free, universal programs in both Health and Education.
Where free isn't possible, then universally very cheap.