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NSFAS Failures Could Leave More in The Cold

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NSFAS Failures Could Leave More in The Cold.

NSFAS Failures Could Leave More in The Cold. Despite setting a deadline to disburse all 20,000 outstanding allowances by January 15, NSFAS fell short, settling only 9,128 allowances. The blame was placed on universities, citing delays in the submission of registration data for the remaining students.

Committee Concerns and Oversight

The portfolio committee on higher education has expressed deep concern over NSFAS’s failure to meet its obligations, especially with the registration process already underway. Members of the committee plan to conduct oversight visits to assess the readiness of tertiary institutions.

Committee Statement and Urgency Call

The committee acknowledges the challenges faced by NSFAS in finalizing matters from the 2023 academic year, including the disbursement of outstanding allowances, appeals resolution, and the accreditation of private accommodation. Concerns are raised about the potential ripple effect on student registration in 2024, urging NSFAS to address these issues urgently.

Committee chairperson Nompendulo Mkhatshwa stated, “The committee further called on NSFAS and all stakeholders to ensure that adequate systems are in place for thousands of first-time entrants and returning tertiary students, to ensure that students receive the necessary assistance on time.”

Committee Oversight Visits Scheduled

The committee plans visits to institutions next week to monitor the implementation of plans presented in 2023 and address sectoral concerns. Their involvement aims to troubleshoot and ensure the effective resolution of challenges within the higher education sector.

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NSFAS Response and Future Plans

By Friday, NSFAS received over 1,406,000 funding applications for the current academic year, with almost one million more anticipated. Regarding the 11,000 outstanding allowances, NSFAS prioritizes processing them as part of the 2024 normal disbursement procedure. The organization commits to engaging with affected institutions to expedite the disbursement process.

Changes in Eligibility Criteria and Call for Compliance

NSFAS, considering the impact of late submission of student data, has resolved that registration details for eligible students must be submitted by March 31 of the academic year. Universities are warned against changing allowance types without prior NSFAS approval and the necessary budgetary clearance.

Student Union Disapproval

SA Union of Students (Saus) president Yandisa Ndzoyiya expresses disappointment at NSFAS failure to deliver on its mandate. Criticizing the blame on universities, Ndzoyiya calls on the Department of Higher Education to take drastic measures against universities perceived to be hindering NSFAS work.

Conclusion

NSFAS failure to meet its allowance disbursement deadline raises concerns about potential repercussions on student registrations. The oversight committee’s visits and NSFAS’s commitment to addressing challenges are crucial steps toward resolving issues and ensuring timely assistance for students.

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