NSFAS Rectifies Funding for Over 14,000 Previously Unfunded Students. Earlier this year, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) revoked funding for 45,000 students, only to discover that 14,000 of them were actually eligible for financial assistance.
Remedial Actions Taken by NSFAS
In July, NSFAS responded to findings by the Auditor-General and the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) by implementing remedial measures. They identified students who had been erroneously funded due to incorrect information and promptly withdrew their funding.
Discrepancies Uncovered and Investigation Process
The discrepancies in applications were detected after a thorough data remediation process. NSFAS found that outdated data from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and NSFAS verification processes led to eligibility errors. Further investigation revealed that 14,703 students were still eligible, and NSFAS reinstated their funding. The remaining 31,225 students had their funding withdrawn but were given the opportunity to submit an appeal.
System Enhancements and Process Improvements
NSFAS acknowledged the need for system enhancements to prevent future issues. They abandoned manual processes and replaced them with automated systems that directly communicate with external parties. This ensures a more efficient and accurate application process.
Streamlined NSFAS Application Process
During a media briefing, Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande announced significant changes to the NSFAS application process.
No Documents or Matric Results Required
Applicants are no longer required to submit supporting documents, and there’s no need to wait for matric results to apply. While additional documents may be requested on a case-by-case basis, the overall process has been streamlined for increased efficiency.
Improved Turnaround Times
NSFAS has enhanced its application processes, promising quicker turnaround times for funding decisions. This simplification aims to make financial assistance more accessible to eligible students.
NSFAS 2024 Applications Open
NSFAS has opened applications for funding for the 2024 academic year. The application window will remain open until January 31, 2024.
Funding for Tertiary Education
NSFAS continues its commitment to providing comprehensive funding to over one million students in approved programs at public universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.
NSFAS bursaries cover various costs associated with tertiary education, including tuition and registration fees. Additionally, students receive allowances for accommodation, meals, and stationery. Adjustments are made based on students’ living arrangements, whether at home or in catered accommodation.