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Relax, NSFAS hasn’t finalised funding decisions for new and continuing students

02 February 2022 - 14:00
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme says once decisions have been finalised, a list of all funded students will be shared with institutions. File photo.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme says once decisions have been finalised, a list of all funded students will be shared with institutions. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Decisions about funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) have not been finalised for new and continuing students.

On Tuesday the NSFAS responded to mounting complaints from students who could not access the myNSFAS portal to check their application status.

It said once decisions had been finalised, a list of all funded students will be shared with institutions.

The NFSAS said there was no time frame to confirm when the list will be shared.

“Please note that 2022 funding decisions have not been finalised for new and continuing students. Once finalised, a list of all funded students will be shared with institutions. Please visit your financial aid office to inquire about registration,” the NSFAS said.

It addressed issues with the myNSFAS portal, saying these were being dealt with urgently.

“All myNSFAS Portal users will be able to see their recent and updated funding status as soon as possible. We apologise for the confusion and anxiety caused,” it said.

More than 900,000 applications received

According to higher education minister Blade Nzimande, from November 2021 to January 21, the NSFAS received more than 900,000 applications from applicants who intend furthering their post-school education at 50 Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET) colleges and 26 public universities.

For students to qualify for the funding they must be from a household with a combined income of not more than R350,000 a year, be living with disabilities and have a combined household income of not more than R600,000 a year, or be a permanent resident with a valid permit issued by the department of home affairs.

“The NSFAS initiated a system improvement process to improve the turnaround time and facilitate speedy provisional funding decisions for students using third party sources such as the home affairs and basic education departments, Social Security Agency of SA and SA Revenue Service data,” said Nzimande.

He said the financial aid scheme experienced a sharp increase in demand for bursaries this year.

“I am happy to report that we will be able to fund all qualifying students on the department’s bursary scheme who have been admitted for funded programmes at public TVET colleges and universities in 2022. Further details will be provided by the NSFAS, including the appeals process,” said Nzimande.

Historic student debt

Nzimande also expressed concern about students who are in financial aid debt.

He said a survey conducted by the department last year showed an estimated 56.2% of students with debt owe less than R10,000, 32.9% owe between R10,000 and R50,000, and 10.9% owe more than R50,000.

The survey also showed NSFAS students owe a collective R5.3bn, said Nzimande.

“NSFAS has undertaken a process called Close Out Project to deal with historic debt as well as the historic challenges of outstanding data reconciliation between NSFAS and our institutions,” he said.

“The Close Out Project emanated from the data challenges brought about by the 2017 NSFAS implementation of the student-centred model for our 26 universities and 50 TVET Colleges.

“This Close Out Project aims to complete all the work relating to funding of students and disbursement of allowances for the academic years 2017 to 2020.”


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