Pretoria — The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has approved funding for at least 291 747 students who applied for financial assistance for the 2017 academic year.
Briefing the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training in Parliament on Wednesday, NSFAS Board chairperson Sizwe Nxasana said the scheme expects to increase this record pool by 17 February 2017, which is the closing date for Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college applications.
Nxasana said the majority of students are already registered at universities, while the registration for TVET colleges is still underway.
"More than 180 944 of these students are at universities, while 110 803 are TVET college students. Of the 180 944 university students, 71 098 are new students, while 109 846 are returning students.
"While the closing date for application for financial assistance at the TVET colleges is 17 February 2017, already 15 375 new students and 95 428 of returning students in the TVET colleges have been approved," said Nxasana.
NSFAS management also acknowledged the delays in communicating the outcome of results to some of the students.
Nxasana said the delays could be attributed to a number of challenges, including the changes in last year's academic calendars at some institutions and a significant number of applications that had missing supporting documents.
"Overall, 9 976 applications were unsuccessful due to financial ineligibility, as they were categorised within the "missing-middle" category. However, these students may appeal the decision."
Details of the appeal process are on the NSFAS website www.nsfas.org.za.