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Delays With NSFAS Appeals Leave Students In Limbo

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Delays With NSFAS Appeals Leave Students In Limbo

NSFAS has yet to make a decision regarding the funding status of thousands of lower-income students. An appeal was encouraged by NSFAS for applicants whose applications had been rejected.

Financial aid and bursary schemes support the education of hundreds of thousands of South Africans from low-income households. NSFAS funding decisions have been delayed, however, leaving many students in limbo.

Delays With NSFAS Appeals Leave Students In Limbo

SAUS met with NSFAS and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) earlier this month to discuss the many challenges faced by university students. The stakeholders came to an agreement, but most failed to follow through on their commitments. 

The SAUS raised concerns about the planned late release of funding decisions with NSFAS at the beginning of the year. This decision will be made by 6 February 2023, according to the agreement between the parties. Over 200 000 students still do not know whether or not they will receive funding from the NSFAS due to the failure of the organization to meet this deadline. 

It has now become more difficult to make a decision because of this delay. During the time it takes for funding decisions to be made, students with lower incomes have their university spots given to students who can afford their studies. 

Despite the agreement to release funding decisions over a month ago, the organization has not completed its processes. Almost all universities have closed their registrations one month into the academic year. In spite of being accepted into these universities, students are now unable to find a university spot.

These students will be further disadvantaged if they are eventually granted funding at this point.

This week, the union met with Dr Ernest Khoza, Board Chairperson and CEO of the NSFAS, as well as Mr Andile Nongogo. Students are currently facing a number of urgent issues, and we discussed what NSFAS and SAUS will do to respond to those issues.  

However, the union believes the most urgent issues should be dealt with in an effective and decisive manner, even though they cannot be resolved immediately.

In order to resolve these appeals, NSFAS will be releasing appeal decisions continuously over the next several months. There will be a final hearing on the remaining appeals on 13 March, which will be presided over by SAUS representatives.

 

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