Earlier this year, 45 000 students had their funding stripped by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). It was then found that 14 000 of these students qualified for funding.
In July, NSFAS released a statement revealing that acting upon the findings of the Auditor-General, their internal compliance processes and the observations of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) had initiated a remedial process where students found to have been funded based on incorrect information were defunded instantly.
45 000 students were then dismissed by NSFAS after it was found that they were not actually eligible for funding. NSFAS found that these applicants had falsified their information to unduly benefit from the funding scheme.
While answering a question posed by a Member of Parliament, the Department of Higher Education explained that the application discrepancies were only picked up after data remediation.
The discrepancies were caused by the outdated data received from SARS and NSFAS verification processes and financial eligibility assessments.
NSFAS then had to investigate further and found that 14 703 students were still eligible and returned their funding. The remaining 31 225 students remained unfunded and were then given the opportunity to submit a NSFAS appeal.
“We have implemented system enhancements to mitigate the problem moving forward, we have also moved away from the manual processes that were being utilized,” said NSFAS.
Part of the improvements to ensure that this doesn’t get repeated is that applicants no longer have to submit documents. The NSFAS system will instead communicate with external parties directly.
No Documents Or Matric Results Needed To Apply For NSFAS
During a media briefing, the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, announced that no supporting documents will need to be submitted when applying. He also said that there is no need to wait for matric results to apply.
Additional documents might be needed, depending on the applicant.
NSFAS is said to have improved on application processes as well as providing quick turnaround times on funding decisions.
NSFAS 2024 Applications
On 21 November, NSFAS applications for funding for the 2024 academic year opened. The application window will remain open until 31 January 2024.
NSFAS provides comprehensive funding to more than one million students enrolled in approved programmes at public universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.
The bursaries offered by NSFAS are designed to cover all costs associated with tertiary education. This includes funding for tuition and registration fees, along with various allowances.
Students receive accommodation allowances, meal allowances, and stationery allowances from NSFAS. Adjustments are made to the allowances for students living at home or in catered accommodation.