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Minister Blade Nzimande on oversight visit to National Student Financial Aid Scheme offices in Cape Town

13 Feb 2020

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology statement on the visit to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) offices in Cape Town

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande, visited the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) office as part of his oversight responsibility of the entity.

Minister Nzimande interacted with students and staff at the NSFAS walk-in centre particularly those staff members that manage the NSFAS interface and case management services.

The Minister also interacted, through the NSFAS Contact Centre, with two (2) students whose funding had been approved for the 2020 academic year. 

Minister Nzimande said that over five hundred and eighty thousand four hundred and thirteen (580, 413) NSFAS applications were received, with four hundred and eighty-four thousand and thirty-eight (484, 038) being new students and ninety-six thousand three hundred and seventy-five (96, 375) being returning students. 

Two hundred and sixty-four six hundred and forty-two (264, 642) applications were from SASSA beneficiaries.

Hundred and forty-one thousand three hundred and seventy-two (141, 372) applications were from KwaZulu Natal with the Northern Cape recording the least applications at around five-thousand (5,000).

“For the beginning of this 2020 academic year NSFAS has paid R3,6 billion to universities and R1,6 billion to TVET colleges as an upfront payment to ease the institutions’ cash flow and allow NSFAS funded students to register seamlessly,” confirmed Minister Nzimande.

Minister Nzimande is concerned about the number of both University and TVET College applicants who have submitted incomplete applications, particularly those with outstanding documents.

Out of the four hundred and sixty-five three hundred and one (465, 301) University applications received, twenty-two thousand three hundred and eighteen (22,318) are yet to submit outstanding documents. 

With the ninety-seven thousand two hundred and thirty-one (97, 231) TVET applications received, sixty thousand eight hundred and twenty-two (6822) applicants are yet to submit outstanding documents.

“NSFAS has been in consultation with the students and institutions whose applications are missing critical documentation to enable NSFAS to make the funding decision,” confirmed the Minister.

The Minister received an update on the NSFAS 2020 application cycle covering the January to February 2020 walk-in period at TVET colleges. 

“The report confirmed that NSFAS received one hundred and twenty-nine thousand four hundred and four (129 404) TVET applications and six thousand six hundred and ninety- seven (6697) from universities,” said Minister Nzimande. 

The Administrator indicated that R600 million of the 2018 Historic Debt has been paid and NSFAS continues to process the claims as submitted by institutions. An updated report will be released once all claims and processes are completed.

Minister Nzimande confirmed that over four-thousand (4000) appeals were received directly through the myNSFAS portal. 

“Applicants with an appeal status have until 28 February 2020 to submit an appeal through their myNSFAS accounts on Students who are in their second or senior years of studying and are not approved for 2020 funding are required to appeal at the Financial Aid Offices at their respective institutions,” said the Minister.

 “One of the biggest achievements by NSFAS is that for the first time ever, (at the beginning of the year) all applications that were received between September and November 2019 with an approved funding status were processed, and applicants informed through the applicants’ myNSFAS accounts,” said Minister Nzimande. 

At the end of the visit the Minister applauded the enormity of the work done by the Administrator, Dr. Randall Carolissen and his team and acknowledged the importance of the work of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme within government in providing financial academic support to thousands of South Africans, many between the ages of 18 and 24. 

The Minister further said that new applicants who are still without confirmation are urged to log into their myNSFAS account to easily track their application status. 

“To access progress on their applications, students are required to create a myNSFAS account online and upload an ID copy which is requested to further secure the users account,” emphasised the Minister. 

New students can lodge their appeal on myNSFAS portal whilst returning students are required to appeal at their institutions.

The Minister thanked the Administrator for his dedication and continued commitment to steering the entity in the right direction. He indicated that he will soon be appointing a Ministerial Task Team whose responsibility will be to look into the operations of NSFAS in its entirety. 

“This will be done sooner in order to afford them an opportunity to engage the Administrator and the team,” said the Minister.

Ishmael Mnisi
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