There have been protests at some public universities over the last few weeks in response to the student housing crisis. The recent NSFAS accommodation cap is one of the main reasons for these ongoing protests.
NSFAS Organising Accommodation For Stranded Students
Over 4,000 tertiary education students across the country have been left without a place to sleep. The R45 000 accommodation cap was implemented by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
The NSFAS funded the education of more than 690 000 students last year. Students who want to study at TVET colleges or public universities can apply for NSFAS financial aid. This program is funded by the government. Various allowances, including transportation and accommodation, are included in NSFAS bursaries.
In an effort to make funding more accessible to qualifying applicants and avoid price-fixing and collusion among university staff, NSFAS instituted a series of policies at the beginning of the year. The R45 000 accommodation cap was one of these policies. Due to this, it has been difficult for funded students to find adequate housing within their budgets, resulting in some students sleeping on campus floors illegally.
NSFAS reveals that they have now intervened in the accommodation crisis as the crisis persists. South African Union of Students (SAUS) and NSFAS have been in discussions over the past few weeks regarding the bursary scheme.Slumezi Skosana, spokesperson for NSFAS, says the organization is seeking alternative accommodation for students sleeping in public.
According to Skosana, the universities most affected by the accommodation cap will be given priority. University of Pretoria, Rhodes University, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Stellenbosch University, Sol Plaatjie University, and University of the Witwatersrand are among these public universities.The scheme will have to take exceptional measures to avoid leaving funded students stranded due to surging accommodation costs. The NSFAS is engaging with the affected universities to receive credible information and expedite the process.