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Over 20,000 Students Face Loss of NSFAS Funding Due to Repeated Academic Failures

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Over 20,000 Students Face Loss of NSFAS Funding Due to Repeated Academic Failures

Over 20,000 Students Face Loss of NSFAS Funding Due to Repeated Academic Failures. More than 20,000 students find themselves without funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) as a consequence of multiple academic failures. This startling revelation was made by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, during a recent media briefing held in Pretoria.

Failed Academics More Than Once

Minister Nzimande shed light on the disheartening situation, emphasizing that these students had failed to meet the academic requirements more than once, leading to their defunding by NSFAS. He underscored the stringent eligibility criteria set by the scheme, which permits a single academic failure but not a second one.

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Appeals and Revisions

In response to this decision, thousands of affected students lodged appeals with NSFAS in 2023. According to Minister Nzimande, the Department of Higher Education and Training reviewed these cases and identified that 20,530 students failed to make academic progress according to NSFAS guidelines. The minister explained, “There are rules in eligibility that one has to continue to pass. Of course, there’s a rule that allows you to fail once but you can’t be allowed to fail twice.”

Appeal Outcomes

Out of the 178,426 appeals submitted by students who claimed they were unjustly removed from the NSFAS program, a significant number were approved. Minister Nzimande stated that 63,331 appeals were successful, resulting in corrections to the students’ funding statuses. However, 8,528 appeals were rejected by the scheme.

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Invalid and Incomplete Appeals

Among the appeals received, there were 30,712 deemed invalid. This category included students who either withdrew their applications or submitted duplicate applications. Additionally, 41,338 appeals required external documentation for verification purposes. Furthermore, approximately 20,908 appeals were pending due to deficiencies in supporting documents submitted by students during their initial appeal.

Academic Eligibility Review Delays

Minister Nzimande pointed out that one of the reasons for funding status changes among students was the delay in completing the academic eligibility review. This delay was often caused by universities not providing the necessary data promptly, ultimately leading to the disqualification of students from NSFAS funding.

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The situation highlights the importance of maintaining academic progress and adhering to the eligibility criteria set by NSFAS, while also emphasizing the need for streamlined appeal processes and accurate documentation submission.

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