Funding For Missing Middle Students Still Falls Short

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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) has helped millions of deserving students fund their studies and obtain qualifications.


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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) has helped millions of students fund their studies and obtain qualifications.
To qualify for the Nsfas bursary, students need to come from a household with a combined income that is less than R350 000 per annum and R600 000 for students with disabilities.
However, this threshold has seen many students whose combined monthly household income is higher than R350 000 fail to qualify for the bursary scheme. These students are known as the missing middle. 
In 2020 Nsfas released a statement to says that they unfuded a total of 5 000 students for failing to declare their household income is above the R350 000 threshold.
Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation said that funding for the missing middle remains a challenge. He announced that the government is currently working with the public and private sectors to support students who fall in the missing middle.
“Cabinet will now be considering revised options for student funding, including on what can be done for the missing middle in our country” added Nzimande.
According to the In 2019/20 annual report, Nsfas disbursed R28 billion of its Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) bursary grant to 720 000 students. This comprises around 42% of all university students and 70% of all Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college students.
In 2014 Nsfas funding stood at R5.9 billion. This increased to R34.7 billion in 2020. This year, The Nsfas budget meant for supporting students is expected to increase to R42 billion.

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