Student Unions Push for Higher NSFAS Allowances. Students across South Africa are urging the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to enhance its allowances, which cover expenses related to accommodation, food, and learning materials.
NSFAS Consultations for 2024 Academic Year Preparation
In anticipation of the upcoming 2024 academic year, NSFAS engaged in consultations with various stakeholders. Notably, student unions like the South African Union of Students (SAUS) and SATVESTA actively participated in these discussions.
Key Demands from Student Unions
During the consultations, student unions emphasized the imperative to raise NSFAS allowances. SAUS, in particular, called on the Portfolio Committee to endorse the increase in student allowances, specifically for meals and travel. Additionally, other recommendations were put forth, including the elimination of bank charges for students, a reassessment of the off-take agreement process to address accommodation challenges, swift implementation of a comprehensive student funding model, raising the household income threshold to R600,000 per annum, and the establishment of regional NSFAS offices for enhanced customer service.
Update on NSFAS Allowance Disbursements for 2023
As of 5 December 2023, NSFAS disclosed that 234,124 students had received their allowances as part of the reconciled final disbursements for 2023. However, approximately 20,000 students are yet to receive their allowances. NSFAS clarified that these unresolved cases require further input and consultation with institutions.
Resolution Target and Student Union Response
NSFAS aims to settle all outstanding allowances for 2023 by 15 January 2024 to prevent any impact on the disbursement of 2024 allowances. Nevertheless, student unions, notably SAUS, dismiss these timelines as mere excuses. SAUS contends that the current payment system has consistently faced monthly crises, casting doubt on the necessity for monthly beneficiary verifications.