The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is improving its data exchange processes with institutions to ensure seamless data integration and the registration of students onto its new direct payment systems.
Giving an update on the disbursements for October, NSFAS said it has successfully disbursed allowances to 143 423 beneficiaries at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, with a total amount of R681 051 078.
The scheme reiterated that it continues to review all its processes, operations and its disbursement model.
“Tuition and allowances disbursement for university students were initiated on 25 October. However, there was a delay in payments of allowances at some universities which did not finalise their university reconciliation, which is very critical information to ensure that NSFAS disburses allowances correctly to the institutions for tuition and living allowances to students.
“This is an important measure to ensure that NSFAS accounts for each and every disbursement it makes to properly account for using public money. It is also important to note that NSFAS is working with all institutions to improve its data management systems to ensure that allowances are paid on time to all beneficiaries,” it said.
To date, the total tuition disbursements to all universities amounts to R1 602 289 873, and the scheme is currently engaged in the process of doing mop up payments for universities where there were exceptions.
On the appeal process, the scheme said this process is almost at the final stage for university students who submitted their appeals.
However, the scheme noted that the appeals process is a continuous process for TVET beneficiaries, because of the alignment of their academic year which differs from the universities’ academic year.
A total of 1.3 million students are currently funded for the 2023 academic year, following an unprecedented surge in the number of applications received.
“The entity has been working tirelessly to ensure that it improves on its processes for applications and ensuring quick turnaround times on funding decisions,” NSFAS said.
Meanwhile, the scheme has refuted the South Africa Union of Students (SAUS) allegations that it is in a crisis.
“The National Student Financial Aid Scheme is not in a crisis; it is however an organisation which is in a process of realignment and modernisation to meet the demands of the more than one million students that it is currently serving.
“Since it’s established by government in 1999, NSFAS provided financial assistance to deserving beneficiaries who qualify for post school education and training. As a scheme, NSFAS represents one of the most progressive efforts by the government to systematically break the legacies of inter-generational social inequality in access to and outcomes of, post school education and training.”
Since 1991, NSFAS funding has grown from disbursing R21.4 million to almost R50 billon to fund children of the working class and the poor seeking to further their studies in public universities and TVET colleges. – SAnews.gov.za