The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) serves as an important source of funding for many qualifying students enrolled in public tertiary institutions across the country. However, the bursary scheme has had to make changes to some of its processes, including the appeals process and the N+1 rule. Here is what the Department’s Minister had to say about it.
When it comes to student funding by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the appeals process is the means by which the bursary scheme ensures that all applicants get an equal chance to access NSFAS funding.
While delivering his speech on the current state of NSFAS on Friday this past week, Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande stated that according to a progress report received from the Chairperson of the Board and the CEO of NSFAS, the bursary scheme has made significant strides toward managing bursaries for the 2022 academic year.
Nzimande also pointed out that the report also indicated that, to date, NSFAS has already made payments to all 26 public universities and 50 TVET colleges.
One of the key guiding principles in the processing of the funding for all eligible students was the work done by both NSFAS and the Department of Higher Education and Training, in ensuring that the 2022 NSFAS Eligibility Criteria and Conditions for Financial Aid are approved, published and adhered to.
The Minister also reiterated that the the appeals process is another pertinent issue that received a lot of attention from the Higher Education Department.
“The policy is very clear on the categories and criteria for appeals. It addresses previous disparities on the application of the N+ rule between TVET colleges and university students” Nzimande explained.
Additionally, the policy allows university students who can demonstrate that they need no more than 60 course credits to earn a degree to be given consideration for funding even if they no longer fit the N+ Rule. This is provided that the student receives assistance from their higher learning institution.
Nzimande also went on to say that NSFAS now provides an appeals process that directs students through the procedure, adding that he is impressed with the quality of the appeals decisions produced via this procedure, even if it took some time for the system’s operation to be at its best.
In addition to this, 40 000 appeal applications have been submitted to NSFAS for the 2022 appeals cycle. NSFAS evaluated and dealt with 28 000 of these appeals, and communicated their respective outcomes .
However, 12 000 of these appeals could not be processed by NSFAS because the necessary supporting documents were not filed or attached. As a result, NSFAS is unable to accept and complete these applications since they do not meet the minimum criteria.
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