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Incoming Administration Urged Not to Change Structure of NSFAS



Incoming Administration Urged Not to Change Structure of NSFAS

Incoming Administration Urged Not to Change Structure of NSFAS. The South African Union of Students (SAUS) has issued a strong appeal to the incoming government to preserve the advancements made in student financial aid. With the African National Congress (ANC) poised to lose its national majority for the first time in democratic South Africa, resulting in a coalition government, the SAUS emphasizes the importance of maintaining the current structure of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Incoming Administration Urged Not to Change Structure of NSFAS

The SAUS is urging the ANC to avoid making concessions that could potentially roll back the significant progress achieved by past administrations in student support. Since the 2015 Fees Must Fall movement, students have seen several substantial improvements, particularly with the transformation of NSFAS from a loan system to a bursary scheme, the increase in the income threshold for eligibility, and the abolition of university entrance fees.

  1. Transformation from Loan to Bursary: The NSFAS was restructured to offer bursaries instead of loans, which alleviated the financial burden on students and their families.
  2. Increased Income Threshold: The income threshold for eligibility was raised, allowing more students from low-income families to access financial aid.
  3. Elimination of Entrance Fees: Universities dropped their entrance fees, making higher education more accessible to a broader spectrum of students.

Concerns Over Potential Policy Changes

As the political landscape shifts, there are growing concerns about the potential policy changes that could threaten these student gains. SAUS spokesperson Asive Dlanjwa highlighted the risks posed by certain political parties, particularly the Democratic Alliance (DA), which has expressed intentions to cut the NSFAS budget and revert the scheme back to a loan-based system.

DA Proposed Changes to NSFAS

The DA manifesto outlines a vision for making NSFAS sustainable by requiring students to repay a portion of their study costs based on their family income. This proposal is seen as a direct threat to the current bursary system, which has been instrumental in supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Impact of Potential Changes

Reverting NSFAS to a loan system would have significant implications for students. Many students and their families could face increased financial strain, potentially deterring individuals from pursuing higher education. This shift could undermine the progress made in making higher education more inclusive and accessible.


The SAUS is calling on the incoming administration to uphold the current NSFAS structure and continue supporting the educational aspirations of South African students. Preserving these gains is crucial for ensuring that higher education remains accessible to all, particularly those from marginalized communities. As the new coalition government takes shape, it is imperative that student interests remain a priority to foster a more equitable and prosperous future for South Africa.

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