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Delays In NSFAS Funding Leaves Students Stranded

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Delays In NSFAS Funding Leaves Students Stranded

A notorious delay in distributing NSFAS allowances has once again left several students stranded and frustrated, while living in shocking conditions.

Delays In NSFAS Funding Leaves Students Stranded

Nelson Mandela University (NMU) George Campus students in the Western Cape have been left stranded due to delays with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

How much Student been forced

In lieu of a designated room, nearly 400 students have been forced to squat with other students or in the corridors of accommodation facilities. NSFAS funding delays as well as a lack of accommodation are to blame for these “appalling” living conditions.

It is notorious for its delays in disbursing funds to qualifying students, and this year was no different.

The NSFAS bursary recipients have experienced delays in receiving their funds this year. Tuition and registration fees are covered by these funds.

What NSFAS covers

The NSFAS also covers accommodation fees, and beneficiaries (who have been approved by the scheme) have not yet received their funds, so they were unable to secure the accommodation they had been accepted for.

Students at NMU must squat in irregular spaces in order to continue their tertiary education. Due to the new criteria, the majority of students affected could not receive financial aid from NSFAS.

  • In response to the new NSFAS criteria, which states that courses with fewer than 60 credits will not be funded, the university has appealed.

NSFAS will not provide accommodation and meal allowances to students who have less than 60 credits for their qualifications. A month has gone by, and students are squatting on campus, and we feel that we are under pressure to receive a response from NSFAS, as this cannot be tolerated. The students might not be funded by NSFAS next year if they fail and do not meet the academic criteria,” says one student.

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Students at NMU and other institutions have been left homeless, sleeping in labs and lecture halls. In addition to the lack of space or available student housing, private accommodation prices have been raised “to astronomical levels”, exceeding NSFAS’s threshold.

  • There are limited accommodations on NMU’s campus, but there are few accommodations in George as well. 

In February 2023, other universities across the country took protest action because of this same problem.

On the George campus, the Head of Student Life and Development says squatting is the only way he has been able to provide these students with a place to sleep and meals.

We don’t [send] students home because they are coming as far as Durban, Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, so we give them temporary accommodation until NSFAS can respond,” he says.

Despite promises by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) that the academic year would be smooth, this hasn’t been the case.

According to NSFAS Spokesperson, Slumezi Skosana, NSFAS funds were to be transferred early to institutions of higher learning to ensure that students receive allowances when the 2023 academic year begins. When institutions fail to provide NSFAS with student registration data, allowances can be delayed. Many students have not yet been paid due to the late submission of funding data by tertiary institutions, according to the bursary scheme.

As a result of ongoing problems with NSFAS in the midst of student protests, thousands of university students are left stranded and academically excluded. In the week of 13 February 2023, protests began at the University of Cape Town (UCT), before spreading to the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Wits University, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), and North West University (NWU).

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