The South African Union Students is calling on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) to intervene in the long-standing issue of student accommodation.
A number of students benefit from living close to their university or TVET college. However, residing in a setting that is not favourable to studying could harm a student’s development, and a student union wants Nsfas to intervene.
During its 8th National General Council at the University of Mpumalanga from Thursday 10 November 2022 to Sunday 13 November 2022, the union discussed several issues affecting the higher education sector.
The union called for Nsfas to lead the student accommodation accreditation process, particularly when it comes to funding. SAUS further stated that they are in support of the bursary scheme’s decision to cap the pricing of student accommodation.
For Nsfas to pay for a student’s stay in a private accommodation, the student must ensure that the residence has earned Nsfas accreditation. When choosing students to live in private accommodations, each institution has its own set of standards and regulations.
The six key requirements that make up the standards of the Nsfas accredited accommodation are as follows:
- Student Room
- Rental Amount
- Safe and conducive to learning
In addition to this, the union also resolved that the bursary scheme, in the long term, must adopt off-take agreements to encourage property developers to invest in building accommodation in rural campuses. Nsfas must consider deviation for all rural colleges that do not have enough housing for their students.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), Dr Nkosinathi Sishi, also revealed that Nsfas had consultations on standards and rules for student housing. The consultations yielded suggestions for the enhancement of TVET student housing.
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