Uncertainty Looms for Hundreds of NSFAS Recipients. Students relying on government support through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) express deep concerns as potential budget cuts threaten their academic dreams in 2024. Last week, GroundUp reported that NSFAS informed parliament about the impending reduction, revealing that over 87,000 university students could lose their funding.
Budget Cuts and Projected Impact
Masile Ramorwesi, the Acting CEO of NSFAS, disclosed that a 10% reduction in university funding, as outlined in the National Treasury’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), would leave 87,712 students unfunded in the 2024 academic period. This number is expected to rise to 120,976 students in the 2024/25 academic year.
Financial Shortfall and Projected Budget
Ramorwesi emphasized the significant financial shortfall, indicating that the projected budget for universities is R41.9bn for 2024/25 and R43.7bn for 2025/26. The 10% budget cut translates to a shortfall of R5.5bn for 2024/25 and R8.1bn for 2025/26.
Concerns from Students
Students, such as Naene Magadani from the University of Venda (UNIVEN), express distress over the delays in receiving allowances from NSFAS. Magadani highlights the added financial burden caused by the lack of funds and the uncertainty surrounding future funding decisions.
Worries and Confusion
Masego Letsoalo, another student, voices uncertainty about future processes and expresses concern about potential obstacles to further studies. Witness Thanzi contemplates applying for bursaries due to her family’s financial constraints, deeming the budget cuts unfair.
Opposition from Students Union
Asive Dlaniwa, spokesperson for the South African Union of Students, criticizes the proposed budget cuts, suggesting that alternative measures should be explored instead of jeopardizing the education of thousands of students.