NSFAS Loan Scheme Application 2024 Now Open For Missing Middle Students

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A huge funding gap exists when it comes to accessing education for missing middle and postgraduate students. The Department of Higher Education announced that a Comprehensive Student Funding Model aims to fix this.


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Many students out there are unable to access funding due to studying a postgraduate qualification or having a household income threshold that's too high. The newly announced Comprehensive Student Funding Model hopes to bridge this gap.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Minister of the Department of Higher Education, gave details on the progress of the Comprehensive Student Funding Model. This model will see the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provide loans to missing middle students.

NSFAS Loan Scheme Application 2024 Now Open

Missing middle students refer to those students who don't qualify for a NSFAS bursary but are too poor to afford to self-pay their fees. Their household income threshold is between R350 000 and R600 000 per annum.

Applications for the NSFAS loans are now open and can be accessed through the My NSFAS portal. Should you apply for a NSFAS bursary and you were rejected, you will then be considered for the loan scheme.

NSFAS is currently developing guidelines of the loan scheme and they will be communicated to the public in a weeks’ time.

NSFAS loan applications 2024 will be funded by R3.8 billion which has been raised from two sources. R1.5 billion has come from the National Skills Fund and the remaining R2.3 billion is from the SETAs.

The loan scheme will fund approximately 47% of missing middle students. This refers to 31 884 of the estimated 68 446 missing middle students.

NSFAS is currently developing the eligibility criteria for the loan scheme and conditions for funding to ensure that the scheme is implemented during this academic year. However, I must up front indicate that the scheme will fund both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

70% of these students will be studying towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) streams. This might be adjusted to include commercial qualifications which are in demand in the labour market or entrepreneurial programmes.

30% of the loans will be disbursed to humanities and social sciences students.

NSFAS Loan Scheme Recovery

Before 2018, NSFAS was first a loan scheme. Student debt from this loan scheme comes to over R40 billion.

Recoveries are stable but a lot can be done.

The department has recovered R110 million in the current financial year. The Minister urged previous loan scheme beneficiaries who need to repay their loans to do so to “ensure the sustainability of the loan scheme”.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is also engaging with those who need to repay their NSFAS loans to ensure acknowledgement of debt and commence making payments. The SIU secured R4 million and recovered a further R58 million from institutions.

 

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DHET

Students whose family income was just a little too high for them to access NSFAS bursaries will now have the opportunity to access government loans to complete their studies. The Higher Education Minister has announced a new scheme which he promised would be open for applications within a couple of weeks.

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