Plans To Improve Student Accommodation Are In The Works


When it comes to NSFAS funding, student accommodation is a constant topic each year, as it brings attention to the Department of Higher Education’s ability to deliver. However, the department maintains that it is taking the necessary measures to address this.



In the recently delivered 2023 Budget Vote on Wednesday, the Department of Higher Education revealed its comprehensive strategy to improve student accommodation across South African institutions.

With a budget of R133.8 billion allocated for the entire sector in the 2023/24 financial year, the DHET aims to address the pressing need for adequate and affordable housing for students.

A significant development highlighted in the budget speech is the imminent completion of the review of the DHET-National Treasury-DBSA partnership, responsible for the Student Housing Infrastructure Programme (SHIP). This review is expected to lead to improvements in the delivery of SHIP and ensure a more efficient allocation of resources.

Thus far, the program has successfully delivered 8,282 beds at a cost of R2.13 billion in six institutions: Nelson Mandela University, NorthWest University, University of Western Cape, University of Fort Hare, and the Vaal University of Technology. These additions will help alleviate the burden of student accommodation shortages in these institutions.

The DHET has also approved funding for Phase 2 SHIP projects at four additional institutions: Gert Sibande TVET College, Majuba TVET College, Tshwane University of Technology, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

With a total budget of R2.136 billion, planning for these projects is already underway, reflecting the government's commitment to improving the living conditions of students.

Recognising the financial challenges faced by students, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has taken an active role in student accommodation. The scheme covers the full cost of study, including tuition fees and limited accommodation costs of up to R45,000 per year. This measure ensures that student accommodation service providers do not exploit students.

To enhance oversight and introduce stricter controls, NSFAS has opened its accreditation portal to accommodation providers. Already, 8,196 beds have been accredited in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

This initiative aims to create a regulated environment that prioritizes student well-being and provides them with safe and affordable housing options.

NSFAS Allowance Allocations For Students Located In Remote Areas 

Furthermore, NSFAS provides living allowances of R1,750 per month and personal care allowances of R3,045 per academic year for distance students. Students not living in residences or private accommodations are eligible for transport allowances of R7,875.

On average, students receive funding amounting to R95,552, excluding Unisa students who are provided with book allowances due to their enrolment in distance learning programs.

The DHET's commitment to improving student accommodation and the NSFAS's involvement in this space demonstrates the government's dedication to ensuring that all students have access to suitable living arrangements.

By addressing this crucial aspect of the student experience, the department aims to create an environment that fosters academic success and overall well-being for all South African students.

Suggested Article:

Nsfas boss holds meeting to resolve student accommodation

Tuition and student accommodation fees increase annually at universities across the country.  Recently, the government bursary, NSFAS made changes to its allowance structure leaving many students stranded struggling to find suitable accommodation.





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