The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) on Tuesday, announced that some students who would be returning to school this year will no longer have worries about how to pay their school fees, as their bills have been taken care of.
While finalization of more funding applications from other students would still be ongoing, the scheme said it looks forward to funding over 400,000 students in the 2017 academic year.
It urged universities to ensure that the registration of the funds is processed smoothly. It announced that 26 universities have been given R1.3bn for the registration fees of students who need financial assistance.
NSFAS spokesperson Kagiso Mamabolo threw light on the funding; stating that the payment forms at least 15% of the total budget allocated to each university for students who were eligible for government funding.
The financial aid is also said to have covered that of over 160 000 students and NSFAS believes that no one who has been admitted to a university will be turned away for financial reasons.
Mamabolo explained further: “Students who go back to university this year have nothing to worry about. They were financed in 2016 and will automatically qualify for money again in 2017 without applying if they signed a letter of agreement for financial aid and passed at least 50% of their module.
“We expect our students to be treated fairly and that they will not be discriminated against because of their background. We are approving more applications every day and expect to complete the process by January 27.”
NSFAS primarily targets eligible students from a poor family background. This explains why it reiterated its commitment towards funding eligible students from poor families.
Meanwhile, the scheme has given students at TVET colleges until 14 February to apply for the funding and as soon as possible. It promised to provide more details about the 2017 applications next week.
Established in 1999 by the first democratic Parliament, NSFAS is a loan and bursary scheme funded by the department of higher education and Training for students who do not have the financial means to fund their studies and /or cannot access bank funding, study loans or bursaries
However, not every institution in the country benefits from NSFAS. Selected universities include; University of south Africa; Durban University of Technology; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University; University of Venda; sol Plaatjie University; University of Mpumalanga.
Selected TVET Colleges are; King Hintsa TVET College; Motheo TVET College; Umfolozi TVET College; South Cape TVET College; and Ekhurhuleni East College.
Students who wish to apply must be:
Grade 12 learners from poor and working class families who cannot afford to pay for their studies
Eligible students who were not funded in the previous years
Eligible students who were funded in the previous years, but not funded in 2015