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Higher Education Working With NSFAS To Finalise Funding

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Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Buti Manamela said the Department is working closely with NSFAS to ensure the rest of the academic year runs smoothly. 

Students have been protesting for free higher education and for all student debt to be cleared. There haven't been any agreements that have been reached at the moment. 

"What we said last week is that universities have to register second- and third-year students and later on in the week we managed to reprioritise resources that will be used to register for the first-year entrants." said Manamela. 

On 10 March, The South African Union of Students (SAUS) sent a letter of demands to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. 

Among this list of demands, students were calling for government to clear the debt of all students.

Manamela said this cannot be done, as universities will not be able to function without tuition fees.

"Unfortunately we cannot waiver the debt that students owe to universities, precisely because universities need these resources for them to be able to operate fully"

NSFAS funding was badly affected by the 2020 academic year, along with other factors such as budget cuts and more students applying for NSFAS. 

"The reprioritisation in terms of the budget was based on the projections that we had made at the time and also that we had not anticipated the R2.5 billion, for instance, that we had to spend in extending the academic year."

Minister Nzimande said NSFAS is working to finalise funding agreements with students, as the registration period for 2020 has been extended.

"I am informed by NSFAS that it is working hard to finalise appeals so that students are not prevented from registering in time to start the 2021 academic year.

"I urge student structures to continue engaging with the management teams of all our public universities, utilising the communication structures that are already in place for this engagement. Many of the matters that you have raised with me require that students and university management work together at institutional level."

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