The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) had approved funding for 309 788 higher education students but has turned down over 50 000 students applications out of a total of new 161 938 applications received.
The NSFAS chairperson Sizwe Nxasana announced this on Sunday, saying of all applications received, 53 043 were unsuccessful, while 3 760 other applications were still under review.
Explaining unsuccessful applications, the NSFAS chairperson Nxasana gave two reasons, one of which includes failure of the financial means test.
“We receive applications from those who come from households that earn above the R122 000 limit. “If a student falls under the missing middle, they will not be funded by NSFAS”.
The second reason, according to the chair also lies on poor academic results. He said following the fact that appeals are expected to reach NSFAS on or before February 28, students who pass more than 50% of their modules but have exceeded the regulated time of completion for the said modules, would be disqualified for funding.
“We have communicated with these unsuccessful applicants and have announced an appeal process available to them. Unsuccessful students can lodge an appeal by downloading an application form on the NSFAS website,” Nxasana said.
The NSFAS had so far received 161,938 new applications from public university and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) college students; 129,510 of these applications were submitted online, while 32,428 were manual applications, said Nxasana who also revealed that only the TVET colleges have a say on whether or not NSFAS-funded students should be placed in residences or private accommodation.
NSFAS would pay accredited private accommodation or pay the universities and TVET colleges, who then settle with providers of private accommodation. “It is important to note that NSFAS does not make decisions on which students qualify for private accommodation allowances,” said Nxasana.
“Additionally, NSFAS does not have any relationship with private accommodation providers and we are not involved in any accreditation process.”
The higher education department allocated R15 billion for the 2017 academic year, after that, a total of 309 788 students are expected to be funded by NSFAS this year, with an additional 100 000 students expected following the closure of applications last Friday.
New entrants to universities receiving funding totalled 79,077 while returning students numbered 110,205 for a total of 186,282. New students at TVET colleges being funded numbered 26,058 and returning students 94,448 for a total of 120,506.
“We do realise that our system did not go smoothly in all areas and would like to apologize to all students who have been inconvenienced in one way or another,” Nxasana said adding that most of the problems related to returning students had been addressed.
Unsuccessful students can lodge an appeal by downloading an application form on the NSFAS website. Fill the form and email it – together with their recommendations – to this email address: [email protected]
Appeals should reach NSFAS on or before 28 February 2017