Mzansi reacts to NSFAS not reopening applications for 2021

19 January 2021 - 11:30 By unathi nkanjeni
Higher education minister Blade Nzimande announced that applications for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) assistance for this year will not be reopening. File image.
Higher education minister Blade Nzimande announced that applications for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) assistance for this year will not be reopening. File image.
Image: GCIS

Frustrated South Africans have expressed dismay with higher education minister Blade Nzimande after he announced that applications will not be reopened for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) assistance for this year.

Nzimande, while addressing the media on Monday on the cabinet's decision to reopen schools, said there would be no extension for the applicants.

He said the fund received over 750,000 applications for this year, an increase of 185,000 from last year.

Nzimande said students had ample time to apply last year.

“We gave four months last year for those who want to apply to apply. We are now focusing on screening for purposes of allocating those who are successful. We cannot, unfortunately, be able to reopen,” he said.

Nzimande said NSFAS entered into a partnership with the SA Revenue Service (Sars) to provide a further layer of eligibility-checking for successful applicants.

“This partnership with Sars is meant to accurately assess declared household income from Sars and compare with information that students are using to apply for NSFAS bursaries, as a further control to ensure that only deserving students are funded,” he said.

Last week, Nzimande ordered the University of SA (Unisa) to reduce its number of first-time students this year by 20,000 after an over-enrolment, saying NSFAS would not be able to meet the demand for payouts for first-time students.

“This over-enrolment will have a significant impact on the sustainability of NSFAS and the higher education sector as a whole,” he said.

On social media, many felt that not reopening applications for NSFAS was “unfair” and that the application period should be extended until the end of the month.

Others sided with Nzimande, saying applicants had enough time to apply for funding and that SA needs to get rid of “Bantu-time tendencies”.

Here is a snapshot of some of the reactions:


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