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Nzimande Announces Funding for Missing Middle Students



Nzimande Announces Funding for Missing Middle Students

Nzimande Announces Funding for Missing Middle Students. Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Minister, Professor Blade Nzimande, has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative with a R3.8 billion initial capitalization fund dedicated to supporting students falling within the “missing middle.”

Comprehensive Student Funding Model Introduced

The Comprehensive Student Funding Model is designed to aid students currently not covered by the National Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) due to family incomes ranging from over R350,000 to R600,000 per annum.

Two-Phased Funding Approach

Phase One: Immediate Support

The first phase, commencing in the academic year 2024/2025, sees an initial capitalization fund of R3.8 billion. This amount, sourced from the National Skills Fund (NSF) and Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), is intended to cover 47% of the estimated 68,446 “missing middle” students.

Phase Two | Long-Term Sustainability

Preparations are underway for the second phase, spanning from the next academic year to 2034. The government aims to increase its seed funding contribution to a range between R31.6 billion to R42.1 billion over ten years, ensuring sustained support for eligible students.

Loan Criteria and Expansion Plans

To qualify for the loan, students must meet specific criteria, including household incomes between R350,000 to R600,000, enrollment in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) or public universities, and willingness to sign a loan agreement. Plans are in place to engage with various institutions, both public and private, to expand the scheme.

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Loan Administration and Benefits

NSFAS will administer the loan scheme, covering tuition, learning materials, and accommodation costs. Students achieving a 60% pass rate are eligible, with those obtaining 70% or above receiving a 50% reduction on loans upon request.

Nzimande’s Perspective

Professor Blade Nzimande sees this initiative as a crucial step in the ANC-led government’s commitment to advancing a better life for all, particularly as the nation celebrates 30 years of freedom. NSFAS, as the administrator, represents a progressive effort to address social inequalities in post-school education.

NSFAS Achievements

Between 2019 and 2022, NSFAS successfully disbursed R123 billion to 2,918,624 beneficiaries, marking a significant impact on breaking generational social inequality in accessing post-school education and training.


Minister Nzimande R3.8 billion funding initiative for “missing middle” students is a crucial step in advancing inclusive higher education. The Comprehensive Student Funding Model and engagement with institutions signal a commitment to long-term accessibility and fairness in South Africa.

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