Why The NSFAS Board's Dissolution Is Concerning For Bursary Scheme

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Minister Blade Nzimande's decision to dissolve the NSFAS board has finally taken legal effect. While this is viewed as a positive development at the bursary scheme, stakeholders are concerned about the potential impact it could have on students. 


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Over a million students in South Africa depend on National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) allowances, but recent months have seen delays in payments. This has caused hardship for many students and led to the dissolution of the NSFAS board by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.

NSFAS provides comprehensive bursaries and student loans to deserving students enrolled in approved courses at universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. NSFAS funding not only includes money for tuition and registration fees but also includes several allowances for food, accommodation and learning materials.

The Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) has offered to support NSFAS to assist the scheme in fulfilling its important duty to students . ISFAP is a private bursary scheme that recognizes the critical role NSFAS plays in funding students' education. 

ISFAP CEO, Morne du Toit  believes their experience can help NSFAS get back on track.

Private sector organisations and everyone behind them are willing to help and we certainly are putting up our hands and saying ‘If we can be of any assistance, we would love to be there.  

Du Toit emphasised that timely payments should be NSFAS's top priority. Delays leave students struggling to afford basic necessities, hindering their academic success. Additionally, NSFAS faces challenges with new policies on accommodation caps and accreditation.

"We are looking at poor students who literally will not have something to eat if those allowances are not paid on time. You cannot even start to think about students being successful in their academic pursuits if they don’t even have their basic needs taken care of," says Du Toit.

They explain the introduction of accommodation caps as well as the accreditation of accommodation is proving to be a challenge for NSFAS. 

These are all things that have significantly impacted students, all we want to see is someone coming in taking charge of the situation and once and for all resolving these issues so that students can get the help and the support they need.  

NSFAS Corruption Allegations 

In 2024, serious allegations of corruption surfaced regarding NSFAS. The claims centred on Minister Nzimande, former NSFAS Board Chair Ernest Khosa, and the Communist Party. The accusations involved kickbacks received for awarding lucrative contracts to fintech companies responsible for student allowance payments.

The minister recognized the challenges within NSFAS and admitted to the scheme losing millions due to fraud and mismanagement

Du Toit says while the dissolution of the NSFAS board is concerning, it was not entirely unexpected as the scheme continues to battle administrative challenges and corruption allegations.

We are very concerned that the mandate NSFAS performs is extremely important given the context of our country and the importance of higher education as an opportunity for young people to change their trajectories

In response to the crisis, Minister Nzimande appointed Freeman Nomvalo, a former ISFAP board member, as an administrator to focus on getting allowance payments back on schedule. ISFAP’s Du Toit welcomed this decision, believing Nomvalo's experience can be valuable.

"We are hoping that because he knows what we can do, there might be an opportunity for us to help."

Suggested Article:

NSFAS allowances being paid

Thousands of TVET College students receive funding from NSFAS. The financial aid scheme has called upon students to take action to ensure they receive their May NSFAS allowances on time. 

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