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NSFAS Vows To Handle Student Accommodation Crisis

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NSFAS Vows To Handle Student Accommodation Crisis

There are some universities where learning seems to be getting underway while violent student protests have brought academic activities to a halt in others. Through engagements with various stakeholders, the Higher Education Department and NSFAS have intervened. 

NSFAS Vows To Handle Student Accommodation Crisis

Several public universities have experienced violent student protests as a result of recent policy changes to the National Student, Financial Student Aid Scheme’s funding model.

The newly introduced R45 000 annual price cap on student accommodation by NSFAS triggered the protests, as students argued that it increases student accommodation costs. 

Students protesting NSFAS-funded accommodations say they must pay the remaining costs due to the price cap. The people who have not been able to do so have been left stranded and homeless.

NSFAS management met with the South African Union of Students (SAUS) on Monday earlier this week to calm tensions between impacted students and other stakeholders. 

In the wake of the meeting, NSFAS and the student union agreed to help each other gather and combine information on students who currently lack accommodation and therefore have no alternative.

  • Where necessary, NSFAS will have to take extraordinary measures to ensure that NSFAS-funded students are not left stranded due to skyrocketing accommodation costs 

In addition to engaging universities, the scheme hopes to receive credible information to expedite the process. Furthermore, they are working on identifying alternative accommodation providers within the R45 000 price range.

So far, NSFAS has defended its capping of accommodation costs, stating that it was based on a World Bank Market Assessment study. The scheme will also help to limit fraudulent activity by accommodation providers looking to profit from the scheme through price fixing, adding that it will also help limit fraud. 

By doing so, NSFAS is prioritizing institutions that have been adversely affected by the price cap, including Pretoria University, the University of Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch University, and KwaZulu Natal University.  

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