Home South African No upfront registration payment for NSFAS students, Nzimande urges institutions

No upfront registration payment for NSFAS students, Nzimande urges institutions

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Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande has called on institutions to allow all NSFAS-funded students to register without paying an upfront registration fee, while NSFAS is finalising its upfront payment schedule.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. File picture: Thobile Mathonsi, African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria – Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande has called on institutions to allow all NSFAS-funded students to register without paying an upfront registration fee, while NSFAS is finalising its upfront payment schedule for payment.

Nzimande made this request during a media briefing hosted by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in Pretoria on Tuesday.

This follows institutions closing their doors on NSFAS-funded students due to upfront registration payments.

NSFAS chairperson Ernest Khosa and the scheme’s executive management joined by Nzimande announced the scheme’s state of readiness for the 2023 academic year.

Nzimande said the NSFAS budget for 2023 amounted to R47 billion to fund an estimated 900,000 students.

“In the current financial year, NSFAS is projecting a 7% increase in the number of students qualifying for NSFAS bursaries compared to the 2022 financial year. Out of these qualifying students, over 60% of undergraduate students in our public university system receive support from NSFAS and well over 90% of students in TVET colleges,” he said.

He added that they would ensure that the important role of NSFAS in expanding access for the dependants of the working class and the poor was defended.

Confirming the 2023 academic year allowances, Nzimande said an inflated linked increase of 5% on all allowances, other than the living allowance, has been effected for universities.

To date, Khosa said the scheme has received 1,587,968 applications from prospective beneficiaries, and 613,909 applications have been provisionally funded, of which 338,320 are continuing students and 275,589 are new applicants.

He said 149,202 were awaiting academic eligibility, according to the NSFAS Eligibility Criteria and Conditions for Financial Aid.

“(Some) 273,746 applications were awaiting evaluation, and 98,805 applications withdrawn and 161,139 applications have been rejected due to not meeting funding criteria and 1,261 appeals have already been submitted,” he added.

The minister stated the following as the 2023 student allowances for both university and TVET students:

University students’ allowances

* University-managed and catered students will receive an R5,460 learning materials allowance and an accommodation allowance capped at R61,500. These are instances where the universities provide accommodation and catering.

* University-managed self-catering students will receive a learning materials allowance to the value of R5,460, R16,500 per annum living allowance and accommodation allowance capped at R45,000. Let me indicate that our living allowance increment across the board will be R1,650 per month, which is 10% increment as compared to the 2022 figure. This increase is above inflation taking into account that for the three years there has been no increase.

* Living with relatives (not in private accommodation) students will receive a learning materials allowance of R5,460, and a R16,500 per annum living allowance.

* Private off-campus accredited accommodation students will receive a learning materials allowance of R5,460, R16,500 per annum living allowance and an accommodation allowance capped at R45,000.

TVET students allowances

* TVET College own catered residence will only receive an accommodation allowance to the value of R54,045 per annum

* TVET College managed own and leased self-catered accommodation will for the first time receive a living allowance of R6,000, personal care allowance of R3,045 and a maximum of R45,000 plus living allowance paid to TVET College.

* TVET students in private accommodation will receive an R6,000 living allowance, R3,045 personal care allowance and R45,000 per annum accommodation allowance.

* TVET students residing less than 10km from the college (this means from 0km and beyond but up to 9.9km), will receive an R6,000 living allowance, R3,045 personal care allowance and R7,718 travel allowance.

Nzimande said all the allowances were in line with the 2023 NSFAS eligibility criteria and conditions for financial aid already published and shared with institutions (apart from the living allowance increase mentioned above).

“The figures provided above illustrate just how important the financial aid provisions from the state distributed through NSFAS have been over the years,” he added.

Nzimande further urged the NSFAS beneficiaries to make use of the opportunity and focus on their studies. “We wish all our students in the entire PSET sector a successful 2023 academic year,” he said.

“It is also important for unsuccessful applicants to note that they have the opportunity to appeal such NSFAS decisions by submitting relevant supporting documents between January and February 20.“

The 2023 NSFAS application process will be closing at midnight.

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