NSFAS Allowances Not Enough To Pay For Student Accommodation

NSFAS has been a consistent provider of basic accommodation needs for its beneficiaries. However, as of recently, accommodation price hikes have complicated their efforts.


NSFAS Allowances Not Enough To Pay For Student Accommodation

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has been known to cover the tertiary tuition costs, as well as other additional costs, of students in need of financial aid. The additional costs include a once-off book allowance, as well as monthly meal allowances, incidental allowances, living and transport allowances or private accommodation allowances.

Depending on what funding plan the student has been offered, these payments have typically been assumed to be enough to sustain financial aid students for the duration of their studies, assuming that their funding is renewed each year.


However, as of late, private accommodation students in particular have been finding it harder to live on these allowances alone, due to alleged price hikes by accommodation providers.

In a recent statement released by NSFAS, they stated that they were “mulling over-reporting student accommodation providers to the Competition Commission for possible collusion and price gouging”. This news comes as a result of student accommodation prices being said to be raised to “astronomical levels”, which have grown to surpass the R4 500 per month threshold stipulated by NSFAS.

These price hikes have been said to have the worst effect on students at the University of Pretoria, Wits University, Stellenbosch University, and the University of Cape Town. As a result, many students have been “left without accommodation…because they could not afford the new rent amounts”.


In an attempt to regulate the prices for NSFAS-accredited accommodation sites, NSFAS has introduced a cost cap of R45 000 per annum, challenging those providers who have forced prices above and beyond this amount.

NSFAS notes that in 2022, the yearly price at certain student accommodations had reached up to R90 000, which is a matter of concern that they are committed to combating. As it currently stands, they have launched a process to “unpack the cost structure of various student accommodation segments to understand what the accommodation rental includes”.

This is set to “assist government to negotiate with the landlords and institutions” so that a common ground can be found wherein all necessary rental costs are considered in a way that can be sustained by funded students.

Additionally, NSFAS is developing a grading process to cater for costs where there are services offered over and above the Minimum Norms and Standards for Students Housing.

NSFAS will continue their commitment towards ensuring that accredited accommodation providers remain within the R45 000 yearly cap.


The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Blade Nzimande, also made mention of the commitment to address accommodation challenges that have previously impacted fundees in his National Assembly speech. As a part of this commitment, NSFAS will be spending almost R3 billion in the delivery and refurbishing of 16 858 beds across 11 universities.

Demzyportal Category: NSFAS

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