The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor is pleased to announce that the 2019 National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) applications for new applicants will be opened on Monday, 03rd September 2018.
The announcement follows a meeting the Minister had with the (NSFAS) administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, in Cape Town, yesterday (29 August 2018).
The decision to open the applications was taken after a process of testing the 2019 applications with a focus group of high school learners yielded positive results in terms of accessibility and user friendliness.
NSFAS has put in place a comprehensive communications plan, which involves partnering with institutions of higher learning and training, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), community structures and organisations to ensure that all eligible students are reached.
Once a student has applied to NSFAS, a maximum waiting period before getting a notice of acknowledgement is a week. Should a student not receive the acknowledgement, they are requested to call NSFAS’s TOLL FREE Call centre, which is 08000 NSFAS (67327).
Regarding the progress made in resolving the NSFAS issues, the following steps have been taken;
· NSFAS has deployed staff to all institutions to facilitate the process of addressing the bottlenecks that have resulted from a range of factors.
· The necessary funds are available and steady progress is being made in getting the student support to the qualifying students.
· NSFAS has welcomed the enormous support from Institutions and Student Representative Councils at Universities and TVET Colleges in clearing bottlenecks to the disbursement of funds.
The support of the institutions and SRCs has been to assist NSFAS to ensure that:
· Students have completed and signed the necessary agreements;
· These agreements, and the student’s Course codes have been captured by the institutions and submitted to NSFAS;
· Book allowances, s-Bux, and prefunded student details are correctly captured and matched with NSFAS records;
In this regard, of the 273 000 First Time entering students at TVET Colleges and Universities, a total of 211 000 have received the relevant funds, while close to 239 000 of the 241 000 returning students have been successfully linked to the system.
Students are urged to sign outstanding NSFAS Bursary Agreement to ensure that decisions for their continuation of funding for the 2019 academic year, if they meet the academic requirements, proceeds smoothly.
The Minister is confident that the remaining and outstanding payments are being made as rapidly as details are being captured and verified.
Minister Pandor calls on all students to make sure they inform NSFAS of their change of contact details, particularly cell phone numbers, as this is the primary communication tool to inform students of the disbursement of funds.
MyNSFAS Online portal is available for students to update their details immediately. All institutions of higher education and training will be capacitated to assist with NSFAS applications.
Minister also asked the students who are receiving their backdated funds to use them wisely to settle outstanding arrears and focus on their studies.
Issued by the Ministry of Higher Education and Training