23 January 2019

South Africa: NSFAS Approves Funding for 300 000 Students, Rejects 65 000

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has approved funding to more than 300 000 students for the year 2019.

The scheme said that it has completed all assessments of the applications of first-time students.

"Of the 417 000 applications received, more than 300 000 students have been declared approved, pending registration at public institutions for NSFAS funded qualifications," said spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo.

Mamabolo said that 65 000 applicants had been unsuccessful.

In December, the scheme's administrator Dr Randall Carolissen called for a review of the 109 000 applications that were initially unsuccessful, which in turn led to 60 000 of those applicants being subsequently declared financially eligible.

The review came after the unsuccessful candidates flooded social media, with some claiming that their applications for funding were rejected without reason.

Others alleged that their parents or guardians were either unemployed, or did not earn enough to afford their fees, and did not understand how the financial aid scheme had declared them unsuccessful.

NSFAS was at the centre of widespread protests on campuses across the country in recent years, with students complaining about the non-payment of funding benefits.

Mamabolo had, at the time, said that the reasons for rejections could be that information provided by applicants was incorrect or that verification data from third-party credit agencies reflected a different income.

Mamabolo explained why NSFAS had turned down 65 000 applicants.

"There are unfortunately some students who have been unsuccessful based on information that we received from credit bureaus regarding their household income."

Mamabolo said that, should a student want to dispute this outcome because of changes to the household income or South Africa Social Security Agency status, they could lodge an appeal by providing the necessary documentation to NSFAS.

Meanwhile, the South African Union of Students (SAUS) has called for NSFAS officials to reopen applications.

The student union was addressing the media at the University of Cape Town after their meetings with stakeholders in the higher education sector.

"There are different circumstances for those who did not apply in time, and we call on NSFAS officials to go to campuses and to make sure those students who qualify are considered," said chairperson Misheck Mugabe.

Source: News24

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