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NSFAS applications ‘almost double’

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Minister Blade Nzimande said the number of applications received to date has almost doubled the number received in previous cycles during the same timeline.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo / African News Agency (ANA)

MINISTER of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande on Wednesday congratulated the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for receiving more than 493,904 applications before the November 30 deadline.

Nzimande said the number of applications received to date has almost doubled the number received in previous cycles during the same timeline.

He said NSFAS had only received over 287,769 applications by this time for the 2020 applications.

“Female applicants account for 68% (338,324) of the total, while male applicants only account for 32% (155,543).

“This trend has been continuing in this trajectory for the past three years,” Nzimande said.

He said there has been major improvements from provinces which had an extremely low number of applications in the past two years with the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, the Free State and North West doubling their previous year’s statistics.

“These latest statistics are encouraging and give an indication that NSFAS’s efforts in providing easy access through partnerships is yielding positive results,” said Nzimande.

The minister said KwaZulu-Natal led the way with the highest number of applications at 26%, followed by Gauteng at 21% and Limpopo with 17%.

“We remain highly grateful to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Department of Basic Education for their continuous support and partnership.

“NYDA centres and Teacher’s Centres across the country will remain operational as NSFAS application centres throughout the application cycle. We would like to encourage applicants to use these centres,” Nzimande said.

Prospective students have until November 30 to apply via the NSFAS website www.nsfas.org.za/content/outreachapp using a mobile device, tablet or computer.

Meanwhile, Nzimande has welcomed the arrest of five suspects in connection with the killing of Coastal TVET College student Smanga Zulu.

“I congratulate SAPS for swiftly arresting these suspects and urge them to work tirelessly to also arrest the assailants who shot and killed Lindinkosi Mazibuko, the head of infrastructure at the same TVET College, whose family I visited on November 1,” Nzimande said.

He also said he was grateful to the members of the community for co-operating with the police during their investigation.

On Wednesday last week, Zulu and two other students from the Coastal TVET College’s uMbumbulu campus were shot at by an unknown assailant.

They were rushed to KwaMakhutha clinic where Zulu died.

The other two students are recuperating well in hospital.

Nzimande wished the two students who were still in hospital a speedy recovery.