Minister Of Higher Education Orders NSFAS To Speed Up Student Funding

PICTURE: Trevor Samson

Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor has asked the department to resolve NSFSAS issue as a matter of urgency.

This follows the concern raised by the minister about the delays faced by students who are entitled for grants from the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

On December former president Jacob Zuma made an announcement that higher education was to be free for students from poor and working-class families as of 2018.

According to the statement revealed, NSFAS has received 408,000 applications for funding in 2018, and by early March they had still not processed.

On Friday, the University of South Africa (Unisa) said it would allow students to submit their midyear exams at no extra cost.

Students who were unable to submit their assignments would be allowed to cancel their registrations for semester one and move their modules to semester two without forfeiting their fees, it said.

As a distance-learning institution, Unisa had more flexibility than other institutions and had seen little disruption from student protests, said spokesman Martin Ramotshela.

“There is constant engagement between us and NSFAS. We expect NSFAS to release the book [allowance] money on Monday or Tuesday,” he said.

On Tuesday, Naledi Pandor and her department will hold a media briefing to discuss the NSFAS matter.