NSFAS clarifies '75% pass mark' funding requirement amid outcry
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has clarified its proposed funding guidelines after a public outcry regarding a misunderstood 75% pass mark requirement to qualify for funding.
According to a NSFAS statement, students, except for those entering higher education for the first time, need to pass 75% of their modules to continue receiving funding.
“This requirement will become effective as of the 2023 academic year. This means that continuing students who are not first-time entering students in 2022 must achieve a 75% course pass rate for their 2022 studies to qualify as eligible continuing students. Students who fail to meet this requirement will be allowed to appeal and subject to the appeal criteria as specified in this policy standard,” the statement said.
The proposal was misunderstood by some who thought the scheme is considering increasing the pass figure of 50% to 75% to qualify for funding.
NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo clarified this on Wednesday, saying the proposed policy requires students to pass 75% of their courses and modules, thus dismissing claims that 75% is a pass mark requirement.
He said this is aimed at encouraging students to pass their courses.
The proposal was still being discussed and the scheme is engaging with relevant stakeholders, including university vice-chancellors and student representative bodies.
Their inputs will be considered after which a final document will be presented to higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande.
Nzimande also dismissed the claims of a 75% pass mark requirement as “misleading”.
“These reports are malicious, misleading, and cause unnecessary confusion to current and prospective NSFAS beneficiaries, because the department of higher education has not, as yet, announced the 2022 guidelines for the DHET bursary scheme,” he said in a statement.
Some have expressed support for the proposal, saying it is a fair requirement.
Here are some of the responses from social media:
Student unions in uproar because NSFAS requires them to pass 75% of their modules! Students want the old rule back where you can pass only 50% of modules and still get state funding. Viva the revolution!🙄— Jonathan Jansen (@JJ_Stellies) November 18, 2021
We are not rejecting nor embracing the proposed misunderstood 75% requirement for NSFAS beneficiaries, but we simply put forward an argument that the tertiary institutions and NSFAS must enable teaching and learning conditions that align with the 75% condition.— Vho - Madzivhanḓila (@phethani4) November 17, 2021
I can’t believe you guys are arguing that 75% is okay and NSFAS shouldn’t waste your tax money on students who are failures. You passed 75% throughout all of varsity? Imagine having one bad year and losing funding. Aniyazi impilo nina 😂— mamncane. (@Kim_Khandashisa) November 16, 2021
It's not about the requirement, it's about who is asking. NSFAS can't expect this from its recipients when they don't provide an environment conducive to passing. Their administration is in shambles. Textbook allowances are always late. Allowances are always late. It's a mess. https://t.co/1RHvdhY2Sa— Noxolo Madonsela (@Noxxcee) November 18, 2021
Been browsing tweets of people up in arms because the NSFAS requires that you pass 75% of your modules. The golden thread is that comprehension is a BIG problem. The NSFAS asks students to pass 75% of their MODULES, not 75% pass mark. Guys, read for comprehension, not to tweet.— Dimakatso David Mokwena (Phoyisa Bae) (@SelfieRunnerZA) November 18, 2021
It's idealistic. Cohort analysis paints a grim picture about NSFAS students in need of efficient admin, academic+psychosocial support. Also does 75% achieve a better completion time than say 60%? NSFAS is a state instrument not a private one, thus must be fair, just& equitable. https://t.co/GLvwQ5PJRt— Lukhona Mnguni (@LukhonaMnguni) November 18, 2021
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