Unisa Campaign Alleviates The Burden Of Student Debt



The student debt crisis has rapidly grown from R13 billion in the 2019/20 academic year to R16.5-billion in 2021/22. A public university has taken steps to ensure that something is being done to address this issue.




In a thirty year period spanning from 1991, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has disbursed funds of more than R100 billion to financially support more than 30 million tertiary students up until 2022.

However some students are faced with the ordeal of not qualifying for funding through the government scheme which results in them not being able to afford to finance their studies.

Universities South Africa indicated that the student debt crisis has snowballed from R13.162-billion in the 2019-20 academic year to R16.5-billion in 2021-22.

Fortunately, the University of South Africa’s National Student Representative Council (NSRC) members have collaborated with the university's Foundation to reduce student debt through a fund-raising campaign.

In a statement, University of South Africa (Unisa) has explained:

This campaign will help curb university student debt, which comprises historic debt accrued because students could not fully settle their fees.

At least eight members of the NSRC have pledged to contribute R100 monthly towards the campaign until the end of their term in August this year. 

According to Unisa, this will encourage fellow students, staff, alumni and donors to contribute to the university’s student debt campaign to ensure that students can graduate and progress to the next level of their lives. 

Unisa NSRC Secretary General, Shatadi Phoshoko, has shared that some students who do not have the funds to complete their studies end up engaging in criminal and other negative activities to finance their studies.

The Council hopes to bridge the societal gap through this initiative with the support of Unisa students, staff, alumni and donors.

As part of celebrating Unisa’s 150th anniversary, the student debt campaign hopes to raise R1,5 million, which will be spawned into student bursaries.

At the moment, the campaign is ongoing and is running on the university’s various media platforms and individuals may donate R15 or more on the Unisa online facility.

What Challenges Has NSFAS Faced In The Past?

In the past, the Scheme was faced with challenges such as a high number of unpaid loans and administrative difficulties. 

This has been followed by the government making plans to introduce a new funding model for the higher education sector that will provide free education to students from poor and working-class families.


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