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NSFAS Teetering on the Brink of Collapse, Warns Student Union



NSFAS Teetering on the Brink of Collapse, Warns Student Union

NSFAS Teetering on the Brink of Collapse, Warns Student UnionThe South African Union of Students (SAUS) has raised the alarm regarding the precarious state of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), asserting that it is perilously close to collapsing. The union cites missed administrative deadlines as the primary cause, resulting in a state of chaos anticipated for the 2024 academic year.

NSFAS Operational Crisis Unveiled

According to SAUS spokesperson Asive Dlaniwa, NSFAS is currently operating on autopilot, exacerbating its dire situation. The scheme failed to meet the critical 1 October deadline for 2024 financial assistance applications, marking a continuation of its downward trajectory.

Dlaniwa expressed concern, stating, “We informed students and the country that the entity faced an imminent collapse after failing to pay allowances on time in August. We now regret to inform the nation that things have regrettably further degenerated at the scheme since then.”

Moreover, as of today, applications for the 2024 academic year have not opened, leaving students in limbo with no clear guidance on when they can expect the process to commence. Additionally, thousands of students remain in the dark regarding the status of their appeals, some of which were submitted as far back as February 2023.

Dlaniwa highlighted signs of a governance and executive collapse within NSFAS, citing publicized disputes between the executive and the board. He emphasized the urgency of addressing the situation to prevent the absolute collapse of NSFAS and called on the government to intervene promptly.

Government Response and Proposed Changes

Meanwhile, Deputy President Paul Mashatile, speaking in Parliament on Friday, announced a proposed new funding model for NSFAS that aims to accommodate the “missing middle.” Investigations into issues surrounding the direct payment system and the appointment of service providers are also underway.

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The recent strandings of students, attributed to problems with NSFAS’s direct payment system, prompted a closer look into allegations of corruption. This scrutiny led to the dismissal of CEO Andile Nongongo last month. Mashatile’s announcement signals a potential shift in NSFAS’s approach to funding, addressing critical issues that have contributed to its current state of crisis.

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