Late Start Raises Concerns NSFAS Applications 2024 . South Africa primary bursary program, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), has initiated the application process for 2024. However, concerns have emerged within student unions regarding the timing of the application period, potentially posing challenges for students seeking comprehensive bursaries.
Student Union Concerns
The South African Union of Students (SAUS) encourages eligible students to apply for NSFAS bursaries but expresses reservations about the 2024 application period.
Importance of NSFAS
NSFAS, recognized as the country’s most vital bursary scheme, aids over a million financially disadvantaged students in funding their tertiary education. The support extends beyond tuition fees to include living allowances, accommodation, and stationery allowances.
Timing Issues Raised by SAUS
Asive Dlanjwa, the SAUS spokesperson, voices concerns about the late start of the 2024 NSFAS application period. With applications closing on January 31, 2023, students are left with only two months to submit their funding applications, leading to apprehensions within the student union.
NSFAS defends the late opening, citing the need for shorter turn-around times in decision-making and alignment with the financial eligibility assessment, requiring updated South African Revenue Service (SARS) information.
NSFAS Applications Eligibility Criteria
To qualify for NSFAS, applicants must be South African, enrolled in an approved course at a public university or TVET college, and not exceed the household income threshold. The household income limit is set at R350,000, or R600,000 for disabled students, verified using the latest SARS data.
System Glitches and Accessibility Concerns
Dlanjwa expresses skepticism about potential system glitches, fearing that a condensed application period with a higher concentration of users on the NSFAS website could lead to crashes, as observed in previous years. Additionally, concerns are raised about the late opening limiting access for students without internet facilities.
Calls for Increased Allowance Payments
SAUS advocates for an increase in the living allowance to R2000 per month, citing the current R1,650 monthly allowance for students in non-catered residences. Despite a 10% increase negotiated in the past, SAUS emphasizes the need for a more substantial raise, considering the last allowance adjustment occurred in 2018.