Students Have Now Been Paid Their NSFAS Allowances For September

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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme is remaining adamant that the new direct payment system is here to stay, despite ongoing complaints and dissatisfaction amongst students. The bursary has begun disbursing funds via the new system since July. 


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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is adamant that the newly introduced allowance payment method is a necessity and improvement for beneficiaries, despite students continuously voicing their dissatisfaction.

The bursary scheme announced in a media statement, released on 8 September 2023, that all registered beneficiaries were successfully paid their NSFAS allowances.

Beneficiaries at TVET colleges were paid on the 25th of August 2023, whilst those at universities were paid on the 2nd of September 2023. These payments were affected for all students whose valid registration data has been received from institutions. 

This comes after several university students raised concerns last week regarding delays on their NSFAS allowances, the bursary scheme noted that it suffered a technical glitch but undertook to pay students by Friday, 01 September 2023.

The scheme had a technical glitch resulting in non-payment of allowances today; however, this has been fixed and NSFAS will affect payment by midnight 31 August 2023 for the amount to reflect in the beneficiaries account by 12h00 01 September 2023.

However, by Saturday morning (2 September 2023) payments had yet to materialise for many students.  

Related Article: How To Login To MyNsfas Student Portal

NSFAS says that for the students who the scheme has paid, but cannot retrieve their funds, the reason is due to the students first having to authenticate themselves.

The scheme has urged students to upload any supporting documents still required from them, as soon as possible, so that they may begin receiving their funds.

We encourage students with applications that still require relevant supporting documents to urgently upload supporting documents, as failure to do so will result in the applications being cancelled.

The applicants were sent messages via email and SMS requesting them to upload supporting documents within a specified period.

More than one million students across South Africa are currently receiving funding from NSFAS; however, many students are not able to access their allowances with some questioning the overall introduction of the scheme's new allowance payment system. 

How The Direct Payment System Came About

NSFAS recently made the transition of depositing student allowances using a new direct payment system, and this was one of the successful instances of using the new system.

NSFAS partnered with four banking service providers to bring the new payment solution to students. These service providers include Tenet Technology, Coinvest Africa, Ezaga Holdings and Norraco Corporation.

Students had to upload their registration data in order to make use of this new system and receive their monthly allowances, that are meant to be used for groceries, study materials, and transport, amongst other things. Additionally, the new payment system involves using new NSFAS Mastercards and bank accounts. 

According to NSFAS, the student-centred model was introduced to reduce the amount of roleplayers involved in NSFAS services. This aimed to ensure that students were not sent “from pillar to post” for information related to their NSFAS funding. 

NSFAS board chairperson, Ernest Khosa, said: 

Most of these initiatives were a response to the call by sector stakeholders, especially students themselves who cited the scattered processors as the source of frustration these students were being sent from pillar to post whilst looking for answers regarding the status of their application.

Challenges With The New NSFAS Direct Payment System

Many students have expressed frustration noting that the onboarding process has been everything but ‘seamless’, with some questioning communication around the new system and why it was introduced in the first place, at universities in the middle of the academic year.

The newly introduced direct payment system has not been without its challenges, as students have reportedly not received their allowance payments on time.

However, the scheme has responded by saying that they will implement intervention measures to resolve the complaints brought forward by the affected students, and aims to "perfect" the new system.

The bursary scheme is notoriously delayed when it comes to distributing funds on time, which often leaves students stuck in limbo and unable to afford the necessities their allowances are intended to pay for.

Frustrations led to protest action, with students saying they had not received their NSFAS allowances for the past six months.

Several protesting students have also been defunded by NSFASleaving them forced to cover the cost of tuition, irrigation and essential items needed during their time at college out of their own pockets.

Many students complained that they were unable to focus on their academics due to financial stress, leading to the decision to initiate the strike. Students alleged that the college management threatened the students with expulsion if they continued with the strike.

NSFAS said students will only receive allowances once the scheme has received registration data from the institution. This registration would then be sent to service providers which would facilitate the direct payment onboarding process. 

However, the slow-moving task of receiving the students' registration data leaves students to suffer the most, in a situation that is out of their control. 

Student Complaints Lead To An Investigation

Since the new system's implementation, there have been a number of complaints about the system, including students not receiving their funds, exorbitant bank charges, glitches, and unauthorised access resulting in loss of funds, which lead to an investigation to be conducted by the Public Protector.

The investigation comes after Stellenbosch SRC Vice Chairperson, William Sezoe, lodged a complaint asking the public protector to look into the awarding of the contract for the new NSFAS direct payment system.

Sezoe explains:

I have last week written to the public protector to investigate the National Student Financial Aid Scheme direct payment system and in particular the involvement of the CEO of NSFAS with the awarding of the specific tender.

Sezoe says that in his complaint, he highlighted concerns around three critical issues:

  • The involvement of NSFAS CEO, Andile Nongogo in the tender awarding process, considering his relationship with the directors of
  • The decision to award tenders to companies lacking financial licenses warrants clarification from NSFAS, as this poses serious doubts about their ability to handle students’ funds responsibly; and
  • The justifiability of appointing companies charging exorbitant fees to students requires scrutiny, as it affects public funds, especially those allocated for education.

The investigation also found that NSFAS CEO, Andile Nongogo had an alleged “business relationship” with the directors of one of the service providers – Coinvest.

NSFAS Allowances For University Students:

  • R5,460 for learning materials
  • R16,500 for living expenses
  • R61,500 for university-provided accommodation with catering
  • R45,000 for university-provided accommodation with self-catering

NSFAS Allowances For TVET College Students 

  • Living In college-owned catered residence: R54,000 accommodation allowance
  • Living in college-owned self-catered residence: R45,000 accommodation allowance, R6,000 living allowance, and R3,045 personal care allowance
  • Living in private accommodation: R45,500 accommodation allowance, R6,000 living allowance, and R3,045 personal care allowance
  • Students living more than 10 KM from campus: R6,000 living allowance, R3,045 personal care allowance, and R7,780 transport allowance

Suggested Article:

NSFAS Mastercard.

The disbursement of NSFAS allowances using the new payment system began in June and TVET colleges are the latest group of students to receive their funds. However, the dissatisfaction with the payment system remains.

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