Feb 2022 2nd Edition

NSFAS funding eligibility to be revised

The Department of Higher Education and Training will soon release the revised National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Funding Eligibility and Terms and Conditions for 2022.

This follows an analysis of a group of 2021 students, during which NSFAS established that 38 744 students in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and universities continue to be funded, even though there was substantial improvement in their household income over that period.

Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande said of this group of students, 32 654 have a household income that exceeds R400 000.

“Our analysis further shows that 7 081 of these students have a household income that exceeds R1 000 000 and 632 students have a household income that exceeds R2 000 000. These students will be de-funded.

“However, NSFAS must lodge criminal charges of fraud in such instances, though the affected students may at the same time be afforded the opportunity to lodge an appeal,”

He said. The Minister warned that NSFAS reserves the right to litigate and recover funds where instances of clear defrauding of the system have been identified.

NSFAS applications

NSFAS has received 906 429 applications for the 2022 academic year. Of these students, 85% have not studied at a public university before.

Students from poor and working-class backgrounds had from 2 November 2021 to 21 January 2022 to apply for NSFAS bursaries to further their studies at public TVET colleges or universities.

This allowed applicants, who were awaiting their National Senior Certificate results, the opportunity to apply.

NSFAS initiated a system improvement process to improve the turnaround time and facilitate speedy provisional funding decisions for students using third party sources such as the Departments of Home Affairs and Basic Education, South African Social Security Agency, and South African Revenue Service data.

“With this initiative, all first-time entering students that were successfully verified as SASSA beneficiaries received immediate confirmation of funding upon submitting a complete application to NSFAS,” Minister Nzimande said.

He added that the department will be able to fund students, who qualify for NSFAS funding and have been accepted at  public TVET colleges and universities in 2022, on the department's bursay scheme. - SAnews.gov.za

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