FET students not entitled to left-over transport allowance

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pretoria - Students at Further Education and Training (FETs) colleges, who get a transport allowance from the Higher Education and Training Department, may not claim part of the allowance in cash or kind.

The department's Director-General Gwebinkundla Qonde noted that students from a number of FETs around the country have embarked on protest action demanding to be given the unused amount in instances where transport costs for the year were less than the full allocated amount of R6 000.

"The department has received numerous notices of student unrest and strikes in most FETs, and we have noted that the main problem behind these strikes is the transport allowance issue," Qonde said.

He explained that the transport allowance of up to R6 000 per student per annum has been made available to eligible students in FETs as part of financial support towards their studies.

However, he said the guidelines to colleges with regards to the administration and management of the allowance state very clearly that all amounts indicated for each award indicate maximum amounts that may be allocated towards transport costs -- not what is due in the student's pocket.

The administration and management of the allowance is managed by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme as part of the bursary scheme.

"The guidelines for the administration and management of the FETs bursary scheme clearly indicate the types of bursary awards which colleges may make, which consist of awards for college fees, transport and accommodation.

"It should be noted that the actual transport allowance that will be awarded to each student is likely to vary between zero and the maximum R6 000. That is meant for nothing else but transport, and could either be less or the full amount," said Qonde.

He also noted that the amount of the transport allowance will always differ according to the distance that each student has to travel from where they live to the college, "but there is absolutely no change due to the student".

The department has called upon colleges to have reliable transport services for students to ensure regular and unhindered attendance of tuition.