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DA Proposes Alternative Funding Model for Higher Education Amid NSFAS Challenges

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DA Proposes Alternative Funding Model for Higher Education Amid NSFAS Challenges

DA Proposes Alternative Funding Model for Higher Education Amid NSFAS Challenges.In response to ongoing challenges in higher education funding, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has unveiled a proposal for a decentralized National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding model.

DA Proposes Alternative Funding Model for Higher Education Amid NSFAS Challenges

This model includes a tiered system for loans and bursaries, aimed at addressing issues with the current NSFAS operations model.

Challenges with NSFAS

The recent defunding of 45,000 students and issues with the direct payment system have highlighted problems with NSFAS. The DA attributes these challenges to differences in ICT interfaces between institutions and the scheme, among other factors.

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Unsustainability of Current Model

The DA argues that the current higher education funding model is unsustainable due to declining economic growth, a shrinking tax base, poor fiscal management, and corruption. To address these issues, the party has proposed immediate and long-term alternatives to the current NSFAS funding model.

DA Alternative Funding Model

The DA proposal includes the implementation of a tiered system for loans and grants, with a focus on supporting students from low-income households. Students would have access to various government loans with favorable repayment conditions, potentially replenishing resources for future students. The party also suggests collaboration with the private sector to enhance access to student funding.

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Key Proposals

Some key proposals from the DA’s alternative funding model include:

  • Providing proportional assistance to the “Missing Middle” who can contribute to their expenses.
  • Combining loans and scholarships as options, with scholarships for outstanding students.
  • Considering the conversion of loans into bursaries based on academic performance.
  • Ensuring higher education is not free for those who can afford tuition.
  • Scrapping the blanket accommodation cap.
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Funding Criteria

The DA’s proposal outlines a banded system for loans, offering:

  • Full cost of study for households with annual incomes up to R180,000.
  • 66% of the cost of study for households with incomes between R180,000 and R350,000.
  • 33% of the cost of study for households earning between R350,000 and R600,000.
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Decentralization of Administrative Functions

To prevent administrative backlogs and funding delays, the DA proposes decentralizing the administrative functions of NSFAS to institutions.

NSFAS Allowance Delays

Following concerns raised by university students about NSFAS allowance delays, NSFAS acknowledged technical glitches and promised to make payments by September 1, 2023. However, delays persisted, causing financial hardship for students.

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Call for Intervention

The DA has called on Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to intervene and address payment delays to alleviate the suffering of thousands of students. They emphasize the need for a fresh and sustainable funding model for higher education.

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