The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will cover funds for students who need more time to complete their 2020 academic year.
NSFAS did not receive additional funding from government due to South Africa’s difficult economic situation.
However, NSFAS will now release the additional funding from its own coffers.
According to Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, the department had asked NSFAS to identify funds to support the extended academic year.
“This was done within the existing allocations to the entity, and taking note of the crucial fact that there has been a significant increase in the number of university students qualifying for NSFAS funding in 2020.”
Minister Nzimande says he was pleased that NSFAS managed to acquire funding to support living allowances such as meals and personal expenses.
“This money is not for the things I shall not name,” he says. He is urging students to spend the money wisely and responsibly.
“You spend it wrongly, you destroy your future easily,” he warned.
Meanwhile, 25 universities are set to start the 2021 academic year at end of March 2021 and one university will start in April.
He says NSFAS will work closely with universities to identify the students affected and the extended time for each student that requires support.
“Universities will have to provide this necessary information to NSFAS to enable the allowances to be expeditiously processed,” he added.
Meanwhile, the department is working towards a policy framework on the regulation of university fees.
However, according to Minister Nzimande, the process has still not been concluded for the 2021 academic year due to the uncertainty sparked by the Coronaviruspandemic.
According to Minister Nzimande, the department is proposing a further “fee compact” to public universities, continuing what has been in place for the past few years.
“The intention of these fee compacts is to ensure fee increases are kept at affordable levels, while also ensuring that universities are able to remain sustainable,” the Minister explained.