For students who were continuing to receive funding, NSFAS relied on institutions to resolve appeals. In recent years, a new process has been introduced to expedite the appeals process.
NSFAS Has Improved Its Appeals Process
Through its online portal, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) received 1,666,039 funding applications for the 2023 academic year.NSFAS processed applications through its new system this year. Despite system issues, the system was continually improved to address the challenges identified.
Dr Ernest Khosa, Chairperson of the NSFAS Board, said the Scheme received 941,491 applications for student funding in previous years. These students were confirmed for funding at the beginning of the academic year, but had not yet registered at their chosen public tertiary institution.
The government bursary program, however, rejected just over 300,000 applicants this year.
Fortunately, NSFAS had urged all applicants declined funding to appeal within 30 days of receiving the decision. Khosa has stated the following in a statement:
- During the time of processing appeals, NSFAS found that the number of appeals this year has reached 64,000, which was slightly lower than the previous year’s number.
Compared to the previous application cycle, the government bursary scheme has improved its online application process.NSFAS appeals used to be managed at an institutional level in previous years.
The NSFAS Board established an Independent Appeals Tribunal in 2023, led by Advocate Tommy Ntsewa and involving student organizations, NSFAS, and the Department of Higher Education and Training.
Its purpose is to handle appeals from students whose funding applications have been denied or discontinued.Nsfas funding appeals should be concluded before the start of the registration period in public institutions of higher education, which will require better coordination of the system.