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NSFAS It Systems Revived with Missing Middle Scheme

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NSFAS It Systems Revived with Missing Middle Scheme

NSFAS It Systems Revived with Missing Middle Scheme. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is set to enhance its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems to effectively administer financial aid to the “missing middle” students. Dr. Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, shared insights into the department’s plans to address the funding challenges faced by this specific student category.

The ‘Missing Middle’

The term “missing middle” refers to students with family incomes ranging from over R350,000 to R600,000 per annum. These students fall outside the current scope of NSFAS bursary and funding policies.

Comprehensive Student Funding Model

Minister Nzimande and his department are working on a Comprehensive Student Funding Model, aiming to extend support to all student categories, including those not currently covered by NSFAS. The first phase of this model was presented recently.

Introduction of a Loan Scheme

The funding model’s initial phase introduces a loan scheme for the missing middle students. NSFAS, with its legal mandate for student loans under the NSFAS Act, will administer this scheme.

Capitalization and Revival of ICT Systems

To facilitate the implementation of the loan scheme, the government has committed an initial capitalization fund of R3.8 billion in 2024. Moreover, funds have been earmarked for revitalizing NSFAS ICT systems, including the loan system.

Partnership and Collaboration

NSFAS plans to collaborate with public or private financial institutions and universities experienced in managing student loan schemes. This collaborative effort aims to provide backend support and enhance the overall effectiveness of the loan scheme.

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Challenges and Renewed Focus

Over the years, NSFAS has faced challenges such as IT system failures, mismanagement, and disputes with students. The recent commitment to fortify ICT systems, following attempted cyber attacks, signals a renewed focus on overcoming these obstacles.

Conclusion

The revitalization of NSFAS ICT systems and the introduction of the missing middle loan scheme mark significant steps toward achieving comprehensive student funding. As NSFAS addresses past challenges and embraces collaboration, it aims to ensure that a broader spectrum of students receives the financial support needed for their education.

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