Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, says the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is currently finalising the due diligence and quality checks of the application information received.
"They [NSFAS] will communicate funding eligibility once the verification and quality assurance process is complete in order to ensure the credibility of this important process," Nzimande said on Wednesday.
Nzimande said all students who are already funded by the NSFAS and have met their study and eligibility criteria will continue to be funded this year.
The financial aid scheme has received an unprecedented number of applications compared to previous years, with approximately 730 000 online applications received.
Additionally, 60 000 applications were received through the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College walk in processes.
"It is important to note that NSFAS will fund eligible students when they have been registered at a public university, or TVET College.
"Students are hereby given assurance that NSFAS is aware of and takes into account that communication should be finalised before the registration windows of the various learning institutions close," the Minister said.
Students are advised to regularly track their funding statuses on the NSFAS myNSFAS portal. The portal will assist students to upload any pending documents where required.
Applicants should take note of the following:
Keep your username and password safe;
Contact NSFAS should a cellphone number change or if it has been lost;
Do not share your NSFAS Wallet details;
Report any suspicious communication that requests you to share your personal information or passwords;
Do not leave your personal information exposed, and make sure you log out of your myNSFAS account when you are not using it; and
Note that your status will be communicated directly to you officially only by NSFAS (be aware of fake news).
On legacy qualifications, Nzimande said that there has been much speculation in recent days about which qualifications are funded.
Nzimande noted that in July 2016, the Department of Higher Education and Training, indicated in a Government Gazette that 31 December 2019 would be the last date for first-time entering students to consider studying, or registering for academic programmes that are not aligned with the Council on Higher Education's Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework.
"These qualifications are now referred to as legacy qualifications. Those students who are already being funded for these qualifications may continue to complete their qualifications and their funding will not be affected. However, institutions will not be registering new, students on the legacy qualifications," the Minister said.
He also confirmed that the Bachelor of Nursing and the Bachelor of Education are still offered at institutions at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 7, and are both funded by NSFAS.