Nsfas Funds Over 90% Of TVET College Students


Nsfas has recently celebrated a milestone achievement in providing financial aid to South Africa's students. The Minister of Higher Education reflected on the various areas of growth Nsfas has experienced over the years. 



The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) is celebrating a major milestone of 30 years of service this year, which took place in Midrand, at Gallagher Estate. 

When Nsfas was just established, the financial aid scheme provided funding to 7000 students. In 2022, this number has significantly grown to be almost 1 million, expanding from disbursing R21.4 million in funding previously, to now providing almost R50 billion in funding. 

By 2020, Nsfas funding was supporting 765 740 students with a total budget from the State of R37 billion. This year the Nsfas budget is at R47 billion, and it continues to grow over the medium term.  

Over 60% of undergraduate students in South Africa's public university system receive support from Nsfas, and well over 90% of students in TVET colleges; figures the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as well as Nsfas proudly boasts.

"I would like to take this opportunity to firstly thank and recognize our first democratically elected President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who came up with the idea for this government-funded student financial aid model," said Dr. Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, during his address at the celebration.

In 2018, government introduced a new fully-subsidized model of student funding, which has now been in place for five years. Through this model, students not only receive support for tuition fees, but receive additional support for living and accommodation expenses and learning materials support.  

However, the journey leading up to this 30 year celebration has not always been smooth-sailing.

Complaints and issues voiced by students about delays in receiving their allowances, difficulties with the financial aid scheme's portal/website, as well as the hassle of getting into contact with NSFAS and receiving a response have plagued the organization for years.

The impact of Covid-19 has been particularly jarring for the financial aid provider, as it lead to Nsfas experiencing "a shortfall on its funding for 2021." 

At least a budget allocation of R35 billion was used to cover the extended academic year of 2020, and Higher Education provided an additional R6.4 billion to address this shortfall. 

"The shortfall, to a large extent was driven by the fact that Nsfas had to continue paying allowances, even though students were not on campus. This formed part of the strategy to facilitate students’ access to multimodal teaching and learning," explained Nzimande. 

Nzimande has since congratulated the Nsfas Board, its management and all employees who worked tirelessly to decrease the negative impact of the pandemic in the country's Post Education and Training system. 

However, despite the challenges that Nsfas and the DHET have faced over the years, Nzimande says the greatest success is being able to provide access to tertiary education opportunities to the people of poor and working class backgrounds in the country. 

"There is no doubt that this Government has made a decisive break in these reproductive legacies of the past. This is abundantly clear if we can simply look at several generations of Nsfas recipients now having successfully graduated, found meaningful employment and starting their own businesses, raising families, serving communities and our country proudly," said Nzimande. 

It was also during this address that the Minister highlighted South Africa's ongoing fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), as the country approaches the end of 16 Days of Activism, which began on 25 November and will end on 10 December, 2022. 





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