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Minister visits NSFAS office

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“The report confirmed that NSFAS received 129 404 TVET applications and 6 697 from universities”

AROUND 5 000 National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) applications have been received from Sassa beneficiaries in the Northern Cape.

This is according to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande, who visited the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) office yesterday as part of his oversight responsibility of the entity.

Nzimande interacted with students and staff at the NSFAS walk-in centre, particularly those staff members that managed the NSFAS interface and case management services.

According to Nzimande, more than 580 413 NSFAS applications had been received, with 484 038 being new students and 96 375 being returning students.

A total of 264 642 applications were from Sassa beneficiaries.

He stated that 141 372 applications were from KwaZulu-Natal while the Northern Cape recorded the least number of applications at around 5 000.

“For the beginning of this 2020 academic year NSFAS has paid R3.6 billion to universities and R1.6 billion to TVET colleges as an upfront payment to ease the institutions’ cash flow and allow NSFAS-funded students to register seamlessly,” Nzimande confirmed.

He expressed his concern, however, regarding the number of both university and TVET college applicants who submitted incomplete applications, particularly those with outstanding documents.

“Out of the 465 301 university applications received, 22 318 are yet to submit outstanding documents.”

In terms of the 97 231 TVET applications received, 6 822 applicants are yet to submit outstanding documents.

“NSFAS has been in consultation with the students and institutions whose applications are missing critical documentation to enable NSFAS to make the funding decision,” Nzimande added.

The minister received an update on the NSFAS 2020 application cycle covering the January to February 2020 walk-in period at TVET colleges.

“The report confirmed that NSFAS received 129 404 TVET applications and 6 697 from universities,” said Nzimande.

NSFAS indicated that R600 million of the 2018 historic debt had been paid and the body was continuing to process the claims as submitted by institutions. An updated report will be released once all claims and processes have been completed.

Nzimande confirmed that over 4 000 appeals were received directly through the myNSFAS portal.

“Applicants with an appeal status have until February 28, 2020 to submit an appeal through their myNSFAS accounts on www.nsfas.org.za. Students who are in their second or senior years of studying and are not approved for 2020 funding are required to appeal at the financial aid offices at their respective institutions,” said the minister.

“One of the biggest achievements by NSFAS is that for the first time ever, (at the beginning of the year) all applications that were received between September and November 2019 with an approved funding status were processed and applicants informed through the applicants’ myNSFAS accounts,” Nzimande said.