The Department of Higher Education has recently announced its plans to introduce changes to how the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) disburses allowances to qualifying students in tertiary institutions across the country.
The importance of student funding at tertiary institutions can not be emphasised enough, and this is a sentiment that is commonly shared by the Higher Education Department.
In his speech, Minister Blade Nzimande provided an update on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and mentioned that he had told his department and NSFAS to make plans so that students may have access to their bursary at the start of the academic year.
“I am pleased to say that there has been considerable progress in this regard towards future academic years.”
Nzimande continued by saying that in order to prevent delays in the processing of the transfers of NSFAS funds, he had issued a call to all institutions to ensure that they had completed the submission of their registration data to NSFAS. Most institutions promptly answered the call.
The minister further stated that the timely payment of allowances for student housing and dishonest syndicates attempting to cheat students out of their allowances were two of the most common concerns he heard.
“NSFAS has responded to this challenge by implementing direct disbursement of allowances into the bank accounts of NSFAS-funded students. However, this method is also not ideal as some students do not use this money for the purposes that it is intended for, thus risking the achievement of the educational goals that this money must be used for.”
In addition to this, Nzimande also pointed out that there are already service providers in place to help with the distribution of allowances to students. Beginning in July 2022, NSFAS will launch a pilot project to refine its system and procedures. After the trial, this programme will be fully implemented and is anticipated to last for three months.