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NSFAS Loans Open for Missing Middle Students

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NSFAS Loans Open for Missing Middle Students

NSFAS Loans Open for Missing Middle Students. A significant educational funding gap persists for missing middle and postgraduate students, hindering their access to higher education. The Department of Higher Education aims to address this issue through the Comprehensive Student Funding Model.

Funding Model Details

The Comprehensive Student Funding Model, recently announced by the Minister of the Department of Higher Education, is designed to provide financial assistance to missing middle students. These students fall into the category of individuals whose household income ranges between R350,000 and R600,000 per annum, making them ineligible for NSFAS bursaries but unable to afford self-payment of fees.

Application Process

Applications for the NSFAS loan scheme are now open and can be submitted through the myNSFAS portal. Students previously rejected for a NSFAS bursary will be automatically considered for the loan scheme upon application.

Financial Allocation

A total of R3.8 billion is allocated for the loan scheme, with R1.5 billion from the National Skills Fund and the remaining R2.3 billion from SETAs. The scheme is expected to benefit approximately 47% of missing middle students, totaling 31,884 out of an estimated 68,446.

Eligibility Criteria

NSFAS is in the process of developing eligibility criteria and funding conditions for the loan scheme. The guidelines will be communicated to the public within the coming weeks. Notably, the scheme will support both undergraduate and postgraduate students, with 70% focusing on STEM fields and 30% on humanities and social sciences.

Loan Recovery and Sustainability

Historically, NSFAS operated as a loan scheme before transitioning to a bursary system in 2018. Student debt from the previous loan scheme exceeds R40 billion. Current recoveries stand at R110 million, with efforts underway to engage with previous beneficiaries to ensure loan repayments and sustain the scheme’s viability.

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Special Investigating Unit (SIU) Involvement

The SIU is actively involved in recovering funds from institutions and individuals who need to repay their NSFAS loans. Acknowledgment of debt and commencement of payments are emphasized to secure the financial sustainability of the loan scheme. The SIU has successfully secured R4 million and recovered an additional R58 million from institutions.

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