New Government Loan Scheme Now Available For Missing Middle Students

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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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The NSFAS bursary scheme has been very successful in assisting students from what are referred to a poor or working class families. This is defined as those where the annual income is less than R350,000 per annum for the combined family unit. However those earning slightly above this have had little, if any government support.

The plight of this group, known as the missing middle, has been a problem that the government has been grappling with for a number of years.  Now the findings of a working group have been put into action and within a couple of weeks students have been promised access to loans to cover tuition, accommodation and other study costs.

The new funding, which will support those in the bracket of household income up to R600,000 per annum, will be available from the 2024 academic year with funding from the National Skills Fund and the Setas. Minister of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande outlined the government's plan to grow the budget for this scheme from the opening R3 billion, steadily per year until it reaches R42 billion in ten years time.

Under the new loan scheme both undergraduate and postgraduate students will be able to benefit, from first years, through to final year students. The loans will cover tuition fees, accommodation, and allowances.

However students who achieve higher than 70% in their studies and complete their courses within the prescribed period can have half of the amount written off.

Another difference to NSFAS is that the loans will be selective based on the courses students are studying. 70% of loans will go to students studying STEM subject (including commerce and entrepreneurial studies) with 30% going to students of the humanities.

Like other NSFAS financial support, the loans will only be for students registered at TVET Colleges or public universities and no funding will be available for those at private colleges or higher education institutions.

The Minister said that applications for the new loan scheme will open within about two weeks.

* Click here for more details on the launch of the scheme

* Click here for more details on who qualifies for these loans

 

Suggested Article:

Loans and bursaries for missing middle students

Every year, more individuals want to pursue Higher Education. However, securing funding to cover tuition fees can be a very stressful and challenging process, especially for students who form part of the ‘missing middle”.


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