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NSFAS Allowance Cap Fuels Tension At Universities

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NSFAS Allowance Cap Fuels Tension At Universities

There have been a number of challenges faced by students at universities across South Africa as they begin the new academic year, especially the recently implemented cap on NSFAS student accommodation allowances.

As students struggle with housing, fee blocks, academic exclusions, and financial hardships, protests have erupted at several public universities over the past few weeks.

NSFAS Allowance Cap Fuels Tension At Universities

Students who cannot afford housing owing to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme’s (NSFAS) cap on accommodation allowances of R45,000 per year are suffering from a shortage of housing.

In various geographic areas of the country, living costs and housing costs are high, making the new allowance limits unfeasible.

There has been such an increase in the issue that, at some institutions, students are sleeping on campus grounds and in lecture halls because of an insufficient housing supply.

Universities South Africa (USAf) and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande met last week to discuss matters raised by students, including the NSFAS R45 000 student accommodation cap.

DHET, USAF, and vice chancellors agreed to form a committee to consider solutions for the cap.

In addition, Nzimande points out that “the cap must take into account seemingly contradictory factors such as price collusion, differentiated living costs, and unaccredited accommodation.”

It is important to take into account a number of contradictory facts affecting the implementation of the R45,000 cap, including evidence of landlord collusion with profiteering, the difference in living costs between localities where NSFAS students need to find accommodation, and the continued existence of unaccredited accommodation establishments that threaten the affordability and safety of student housing.

During the same period, the South African Union of Students (Saus) noted that based on their assessment of the student accommodation landscape, as well as a number of other factors ensuring that adequate housing could be found with the allowance cap, it was evident that this could be done.

It also raised concern over private student accommodation providers colluding with university officials to inflate student accommodation prices for NSFAS beneficiaries.

As a revolutionary movement, we seek to widen access to institutions of higher education, and paying exorbitant prices for accommodations to ruthless parasites seeking enrichment from government programs is unacceptable.

He said that during the current student accommodation crisis, the committee would meet to discuss cases and practical solutions.

 

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