Thousands of students are funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) every year. The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande has now revealed the allocation of funds.
NSFAS funds are allocated to qualifying university students as well as students attending Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges.
Minister Nzimande revealed that 1 286 867 students are eligible for the 2021 funding cycle. This total includes 939 934 students in the university sector and 346 933 students at TVET Colleges.
This is the total number of students who will receive funding from NSFAS. Along with funding for tuition, NSFAS will also be providing some students with allowances.
“To date, NSFAS has disbursed allowances to a total of 623 386 students as per the data submitted by institutions. This number represents at least 48.5% of the total number of overall eligible students,” the Minister said.
While the total number of students who are eligible for funding is high, not all students who qualify for NSFAS funding secure a spot at a university or TVET College.
This means some students end up not attending a higher learning institution, forcing them to forfeit their funding.
“According to the data received for the 2021 academic year, 47% (444 609) of funding eligible university students have confirmed registration at institutions and this is evidenced through registration data submitted and processed by NSFAS,” Nzimande said.
Despite some students not receiving funding, NSFAS has continued to pay out funds to students who managed to successfully secure a spot in university.
Nzimande confirmed that there have been 2 payments made to universities since the start of the academic year.
“The first payment was made on 9 April 2021. NSFAS paid an advance amount of approximately R7.9 billion to cover March and April allowances to students at universities; and the second payment was made on 10 June 2021.
“A further R6.9 billion was paid over after a reconciliation was effected, based on the value of registration data received. This payment was made to cover the months of May, June and July 2021,” the Minister said.