Over 6 000 NSFAS Appeals Have Been Rejected This Year



Thousands of students were rejected from receiving NSFAS funding for the 2023 academic year. These students have been afforded an opportunity to submit a NSFAS appeal application in the hope of receiving NSFAS funding 



The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has approved more than 53, 000 NSFAS appeal applications for the 2023 academic year. These students initially were rejected from receiving the comprehensive funding provided by NSFAS but successfully appealed NSFAS’ decision to reject their NSFAS application. 

NSFAS says 53 206 student appeals have been approved for the 2023 academic year. These students will be able to access their funding pending registration at a public university or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college.

However, 6 107 NSFAS appeals have been rejected. The financial aid scheme says this is due to financial or academic ineligibility, and these students cannot submit further appeals.

NSFAS further revealed that approximately 27 791 appeals applications require students to submit supporting documents. These supporting documents help substantiate the NSFAS appeal application and ensure NSFAS has all the required information to make an informed funding decision for the student. 

The financial aid scheme said the remaining appeal applications are still in progress. However, it's important to note that these are subject to budget availability and students may not be funded even if they submit a successful appeal. 

The NSFAS appeals option allows students whose financial standing may have changed between the time of processing the application and finalisation of the funding decision to inform NSFAS of the changes.  

A student's financial standing may change if a key contributor to the applicant’s household income may become incapacitated or is deceased since the submission of the initial NSFAS application.

Financial standing of students may also change due to parents of a applicant being divorced, and in terms of the divorce decree, a court has determined that the responsibility for child maintenance, including the responsibility for the cost of education, is restricted to one parent. 

Independent Tribunal Dealing With NSFAS Appeals 

NSFAS have revealed that an Independent Appeals Tribunal was established February 2023 to assist the scheme with appeals. The independent appeals tribunal will handle special or complex appeal cases.

The tribunal is made up of individuals from the higher education sector, university and TVET college officials, and student leadership.

They will mainly  address cases where students who have exceeded the N+Rule and applicants from households with income over R350 000 and multiple students in higher education.

Examples of these (special or complex cases) would be applicants who have exceeded the N+ rule however, only have one or two modules to complete their degrees or applicants belonging to a household of more than R350,000, with more than one student in an institution of higher learning.

NSFAS Household Income Threshold

Students who submit a NSFAS appeal have been reminded of the household income threshold. Students who come from households with a combined household income of more than R350,000 per annum do not qualify for NSFAS funding. 

Disabled students may come from households where the household income does not exceed R600,000 per annum. 

NSFAS indicated that students with siblings in higher education will be evaluated by the independent tribunal. 

What Is The N+Rule?

The N+Rule  refers to the number of years students will receive funding to obtain a qualification.

The N+2 rule currently used makes funding provision to students for a minimum number of years allocated to the qualification “N” plus an additional two years N+2. Students who live with disabilities are funded for N+3 years to complete a qualification. 

Addressing Student Accommodation Challenges 

NSFAS Board Chairperson, Ernest Khosa says they are committed to ensuring students live in appropriate accommodation while they study. This comes after NSFAS conducted site visits to universities and TVET colleges to assess student accommodation funded by NSFAS.

They found a host of challenges including insufficient beds, inadequate conditions for student living and learning, unregulated cost structures, inconsistent accreditation processes, and susceptibility to fraud and corruption.

In an effort to address these challenges, NSFAS developed an online student accommodation portal. Accommodation providers can register their properties on the portal, and 38 accreditors have been appointed to assess and grade registered properties.

A total of 41 245 beds have been registered, and 24 784 have been accredited so far.

The portal is being piloted in 18 TVET colleges, with plans to expand to all institutions after evaluation.

Re-evaluating The R45,000 Accommodation Cap 

In 2023, NSFAS introduced an accommodation allowance cap to manage the unregulated cost of student accommodation facilities and prevent profiteering and price collusion by private student accommodation providers.

The introduction of the accommodation raised concern among students who feel that the amount of money allocated to accommodation is not enough and they will be left without a place to live.

Khosa says institutions negatively affected by the R45,000 accommodation cap have been asked to negotiate with private accommodation providers to adjust rental rates.

NSFAS is constantly looking at ways to amend its funding policies to accommodate the dynamic conditions of the students’ life cycle and banks the success of these policy implementations on collaborative efforts with sector stakeholders.

A task team led by the Department of Higher Education and Training is reviewing the R45 000 cap.

Suggested Article:

nsfas briefing

A number of students funded by NSFAS have been left unhappy after the scheme cut off funding for their studies. These students claim that their application statuses randomly changed from approved to rejected. 




Google News

Advertisement i

Advertisement m