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Finally NSFAS Makes Changes To How Allowances Are Paid To Students

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Finally NSFAS Makes Changes To How Allowances Are Paid To Students

As issues with NSFAS funding continue, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has been receiving criticism since the beginning of the year. Among the challenges funded students have faced are delays in paying out NSFAS allowances.

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Finally NSFAS Makes Changes To How Allowances Are Paid To Students

Since the beginning of this year, tertiary institutions throughout the country have faced ongoing accommodation challenges. In response to the recent price cap introduced by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the lack of affordable housing near campus, students at many public universities protested.As of now, three months into the academic year, the matter is still unresolved.

NSFAS met with the Parliamentary Committee last month to discuss student accommodation issues.

In this meeting, NSFAS informed members of parliament that the price cap was determined by examining existing data on accommodation, the Ministerial Task Team report, and available market data.

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As this was the first time an accommodation cap had been implemented, more work and research are needed.

Service providers are charging students outrageous amounts for small rooms, rather than students using their accommodation fees irresponsibly, said NSFAS.

This accommodation cap allows the government to allocate its limited resources to support more students without access to student housing funding. However, 11 of the 26 public universities disagreed with the cap, claiming it would negatively impact their operations.

NSFAS allowance payments were also delayed. NSFAS reported at the committee meeting that TVET colleges have already received two payment runs based on their registration data. By 18 March 2023, students without user profiles had been paid.

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NSFAS has committed to making payments

Since then, NSFAS has committed to making payments every week. It was due to late registration data submitted by the institutions that students were not paid.

On 31 January 2023, TVET colleges and universities were paid upfront, and on 6 March 2023, universities received a second upfront payment. Institutions were still finalizing allowance allocations and claims registration data when these payments were made.

As a result of the minister’s confirmation of the 10% increase, colleges and universities have begun loading registration data. Living allowances will increase, not all allowances, and the accommodation cap will remain at R4 500 per month.

Also, NSFAS now makes allowance payments weekly, so students don’t have to wait until the end of the month, regardless of funding decisions. Four times a month, these payments will be made.

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According to university payment data, 800 000 students received upfront payments between 31 January and 6 March 2023.

Although parliamentary members were satisfied with the outcome of this meeting, they advised NSFAS to respond more quickly to false allegations circulating in the media as it negatively affects their public image. The financial aid scheme also provided the Committee with research on the accommodation cap.

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