The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will prioritise poor and vulnerable students in its 2020 funding allocation.
This comes as the Scheme announced that it had received a record number of 543 268 first-time funding applications by the end of its application period on 30 November 2019.
“We are happy to report that by November 30, 2019 the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) had received a record number of 543 268 first-time ever applications (prior year 428 929) by the closing date,” it said on Monday.
The (NSFAS) had embarked on a series of roadshows across the country aimed at getting prospective students to apply for funding at tertiary institutions across the country.
The scheme has prioritised poor and vulnerable students and to this end just under 50% of applications have been received from social grant beneficiaries.
“The personal details and social welfare status of all applications have been validated with the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Social Development. This is a major improvement in NSFAS administration, as communication of funding decision prior to the commencement of the academic year will allow students to enrol at tertiary institution without having to pay upfront registration fees,” said NSFAS.
As in prior years, it is expected that a significant number of students will apply after they have registered at TVET colleges in January 2020. In the previous year the number of students in this category stood at 160 000.
NSFAS said students—it previously funded –who will be continuing their studies in 2020 will be funded based on progression results to be received from the various institutions.
“We are encouraged that most of applications were submitted through the electronic portal with only 15 000 applications submitted manually. The highest number of applications received were from KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng Province. About 80% of applicants have indicated that universities are their first choice of study,” the Scheme said.
Funding decisions for the 2020 applications have been updated on the myNSFAS portal profiles. In addition the NSFAS advised applicants to check and track their application status updates online.
“Applicants who do not have the myNSFAS portal profiles are encouraged to register on the website in order to ensure they have sight of their funding status.”
Outstanding supporting documents
From the total number of applications received, 69 357 applications were incomplete or had outstanding or incorrect supporting documents.
Applicants with incomplete applications have been contacted by NSFAS over the festive season with the scheme continuing to receive the required documents.
The list of required documents which need to accompany each application is on the NSFAS website on www.nsfas.org.za.