Students flood NSFAS site to beat deadline for 2017 university funding
There was a last-minute rush to the beat the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)’s November 30 deadline for applications for funding for the 2017 academic year.
Close to 200,000 completed applications had been received by Wednesday‚ and the fund insisted that students who missed the cut-off will not have another opportunity to get funding for their studies.
“November 30 2016 [was] the deadline‚ and there is no extension‚” said NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo.
Mamabolo said the number of applications the financial aid scheme received this year was up on previous years.
“The number of applications has certainly increased in comparison to last year because last year we had only opened for centralised applications for selected institutions that were part of the pilot phase of NSFAS student-centred model‚ and this year all 26 public universities and 50 TVET colleges have come on board‚” Mamabolo explained.
“The number of applications has significantly increased in the last few days. The number of received completed applications is nearing the 200 000 mark.
“NSFAS policy‚ as [part of a] commitment towards opening access to higher education and training‚ and reinforcing government’s decision to open the doors of learning‚ is that all qualifying students that have applied for financial assistance will be funded.
“Our figures are aligned with the enrolment target of institutions. This means‚ if [a student is] admitted and qualifies for NSFAS‚ funding will be made available‚” Mamabolo added.
The NSFAS has had more than 5,000 active users filing applications a day since introducing the online application system for the first time this year.
“Our online applications portal has experienced a heavier than estimated and expected active user load.
“This load has ranged between 4,000 and 5,000 active users at any one time. It has resulted in slow response times and intermittent timeouts‚ which in turn would have affected students applying and therefore for the abnormally high level of calls to the contact centre.”
The scheme will‚ from Thursday‚ start processing applications. This includes checking if the correct documentation is attached‚ doing means tests and the verification of particulars.
Students who have submitted incomplete applications have until 10 December to submit missing documents.
“After the date‚ applications without supporting documents will be rejected. Users‚ that still have to complete the online applications‚ and have already started before closing date‚ will be allowed to complete‚” Mamabolo said.
– TMG Digital