As we approach the beginning of the 2021 academic year, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme is of course a hot topic. The NSFAS CEO, Andile Nongogo has made it clear that NSFAS will be disbursing allowances for 2021. Nongogo also explained what NSFAS is doing to help the missing middle.
NSFAS is said to have received near to 800 000 applications for funding in 2021. Nongogo said that they are ready to release funds to those they have approved.
He said allowances will be disbursed to students once NSFAS receives registration data from the institutions. This means that even if a student hasn’t registered yet, they won’t receive any allowances until they do so and then verification processes need to happen between NSFAS and the university. NSFAS will also cover the registration fee.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande made it clear that NSFAS will not be taking any late applications. However, students who were rejected have a second chance by submitting an appeal to NSFAS.
Once students have been informed that their application was unsuccessful, NSFAS will then tell them that they can appeal immediately. Some people believe that NSFAS has not done much to solve the problem of the missing middle. The missing middle refers to those students who are too poor to pay their fees themselves but are seen as too rich to be funded by NSFAS.
Nongogo acknowledged that this is a policy issue that needs to be looked at while speaking on a radio station.
“The plan of the department does speak to solving funding for the missing middle and we are supposed to do our little bit in trying to assist so the only thing we can do from NSFAS perspective, there is government funding that can fund households with an income up to R350 000 per year. As NSFAS there is nothing we can do about it,” he said.
Nongogo also explained that NSFAS engages with private funders who ask NSFAS to administer their bursary funds and through this, they then give those funders a list of students who do not qualify for NSFAS funding.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a government student bursary scheme which receives its funding budget from, and reports to the Department of Higher Education and Training. NSFAS will cover more than just your tuition fees, should you qualify.
NSFAS offers bursaries to South African students who plan to study at public universities and TVET colleges. They cover funding for registration, tuition and allowances. NSFAS funds students depending on the duration of their course or degree.