“However, it is a concern that only 24% of the applications are from pupils who wish to enrol at TVET colleges, with the balance being applications for universities,”
ONLY 2 573 matrics, or 18.04% of the total number of pupils who wrote their senior certificate in the Northern Cape, have applied for National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding.
Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor said yesterday that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) had received more than 400 000 funding applications for the 2019 financial year.
Pandor was briefing the media in Cape Town following the closure of funding for the 2019 academic year on Monday.
“As we prepare for next year, the 2019 application cycle has proceeded relatively smoothly with more than 400 000 applications received between the opening of applications on September 3 and the closing of applications on December 3,” she said.
Pandor said that on average, NSFAS received more than 3 200 applications a day over the period from September to December, with the number reaching as high as 30 000 on one of the days.
Out of all the applications, 63% were females while males made up 37% of the applications.
A total of 34 413 applications were received from social grant beneficiaries. Students who are beneficiaries of the South Africa Social Security Agency automatically qualify in terms of the financial qualification criteria and will be funded if admitted and registered at a TVET college or university.
“However, it is a concern that only 24% of the applications are from pupils who wish to enrol at TVET colleges, with the balance being applications for universities,” the minister said.
Pandor said of all the applications, the highest number, 95 523, was received from KwaZulu-Natal. The number represents 45% of the total number of pupils that wrote their National Senior Certificate examinations in the province, while the lowest number was from the Northern Cape.
The scheme is currently in the process of evaluating all applications received. The evaluations process checks whether applicants are eligible for funding by verifying all data received by students with third parties like the SA Revenue Service and Home Affairs.
“To qualify for funding a student must meet the financial eligibility criteria and register at an institution for an approved programme. Successful students will received bursary funding to cover their tuition fee for their registered programme and an allowance for learning materials. They may also qualify for subsidised accommodation and transport allowances where applicable,” Pandor said.
She said NSFAS would communicate to students who meet the financial eligibility criteria and have received an academic offer via SMS and e-mail at the beginning of January, and once academic results have been made available to NSFAS.
“Funding is only confirmed once a student has met the financial eligibility criteria and is formally registered at a public TVET college or university for an approved funded programme.
“During this process, NSFAS will work closely with institutions to ensure that integration of data is quick and seamless to allow the timeous release of funds to students and to avoid any repetition of the delays of 2018, where some qualifying students were left frustrated, homeless, hungry and without confirmation of their funding,” she said.