After receiving thousands of applications in 2020, NSFAS has reflected on the ups and downs of the application process.
According to the 2021 funding status report, NSFAS received 839 130 applications for funding. This number includes online and manual applications.
A total of 722 252 applicants were found to be eligible for funding, while 55 945 applications were unsuccessful.
The unsuccessful applications were considered unsuccessful because the applicants did not meet the funding criteria.
In addition to this, the report said 5 335 applications were not finalised due to missing supporting documents.
“The balance of applications are mainly constituted of the trimester two applications for colleges. These applications were received during May and June 2021 to allow new students, who enrolled at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, to also apply for NSFAS funding,” the report said.
Earlier this year, Minister Blade Nzimande commented on how NSFAS has managed to allocate more funding to students over the years.
The report goes into more detail, showing that NSFAS has increased its allocated funds from R441 million in 1999 to almost R42 billion in the 2020/21 financial year.
“These funds are allocated for students at public universities and TVET colleges in accordance with the funding conditions for each sector published in the Department of Higher Education and Training Bursary Rules and Guidelines,” the report said.
In 2020, NSFAS saw a significant increase in the number of first time applicants. This was mainly due to the Covid-19 lockdown, which left many without jobs, making more applicants eligible for funding.
While a significant number of applicants were accepted for funding, some were rejected. These rejected applications led to NSFAS opening appeals for students who felt they were unfairly rejected.
A total of 19 820 appeals were received and processed for First Time Entering Students (FTENs) or new NSFAS students. Out of these applications, a total of 6 752 appeals were reviewed and approved.
However, NSFAS soon discovered that there were some shortcomings in the appeals process.
“The balance of appeals remains unsuccessful, while others do not have enough supporting documents to substantiate the need for a review of the funding decision. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposed restriction levels, many students were faced with data connectivity problems, and were unable to submit documents as required."