Nsfas Taking Applications To Increase Student Accommodation

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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme aims to ensure students have all they need to succeed at university. However, there is rising concern with the lack of available student accommodation facilities to house students.


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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) provides bursaries to thousands of students working towards obtaining undergraduate qualifications. The bursaries provided by Nsfas are comprehensive and pay funded students' tuition fees, transport costs, education material costs and grocery costs.

Nsfas also provides an accommodation allowance. This ensures that students can live closer to the institution where they are studying. Without these accommodation allowances, many students from areas far from their university may not be able to attend class.

Despite the availability of this accommodation funding, students are struggling to find a place to live. Nsfas is now aiming to eliminate this challenge by signing off-take agreements with relevant stakeholders for the provision of student accommodation for Nsfas beneficiaries.

An off-take agreement is an arrangement between a producer and a buyer to purchase or sell portions of the producer's upcoming goods or services. In the case of Nsfas, they want accommodation providers to agree to host the scheme's beneficiaries.

“Nsfas is calling on institutions of higher learning, accommodation providers, developers, investors and all relevant individuals or groups who seek to apply for off-take agreements in the provision of student accommodation for Nsfas beneficiaries” declared the scheme.

This application process to sign off-take agreements is for underdeveloped and yet-to-be-developed accommodation facilities. These do not apply to accommodation providers who are currently providing accommodation to Nsfas beneficiaries.

“The process to accredit existing accommodation is a separate one and its commencement will be announced in due course” added Nsfas.

Applications will close on 10 November 2022. All applicants are required to submit all required supporting documents, including business cases where applicable. Prospective applicants can visit the Nsfas website for more information on how to apply and what documents are needed.

Nsfas seeks to play a role in student housing and understand that accommodation issues cannot be solved by government alone. All stakeholders should participate.

The mandatory requirements for these off-take agreements are as follows

  • Over 80% of the proposed beds should be catering to Nsfas beneficiaries
  • The proposed cost per bed should not exceed R45,000 per annum
  • The envisaged accommodation must meet the minimum norms and standards.

Once applicants submit their proposals, Nsfas will evaluate their applications against a combination of predefined mandatory criteria and a point-scoring system. The outcome of this evaluation will be communicated to the successful parties.

Nsfas will then engage with the successful parties to draft, negotiate, complete and sign the relevant take-off agreement.

 

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