Nzimande dissolves NSFAS board

Friday, April 12, 2024

Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Professor Blade Nzimande, has dissolved the board of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and placed it under administration.

The announcement followed a meeting held on Thursday between Nzimande and the NSFAS Board to communicate the Minister’s decision to dissolve the NSFAS Board, with immediate effect.

In a statement issued on Thursday evening, the department said the legal effect of the decision will be communicated on Friday, through the Government Gazette.

“On Sunday, 14 April 2024, at 2pm, the Minister will convene a special media briefing to explain the rationale for dissolving the NSFAS Board and the further steps arising from this decision,” the department said in a statement.

Prior to the meeting, the department issued a statement raising Nzimande’s concerns over the recurring problem of non- payment of student allowances by NSFAS.

“Given the magnitude of this problem and its negative impact on the well-being of students and the continued functioning of our post school education and training system, in the next few days, the Minister will be taking a series of additional and decisive steps, all of which are intended to have the problem of non-payment of allowances resolved as a matter of priority,” the department said.

As part of the series of decisive steps, Nzimande, supported by the department, has instructed NSFAS to immediately establish a dedicated task team that will visit all the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and universities, where students are experiencing serious NSFAS related problems.

Regarding the 2024 academic cycle, the department said against valid registration records received on 15 March 2024, NSFAS has paid the disbursements for university and TVET college students.

“For the latest payment cycle, NSFAS has paid TVET college student allowances and tuition to the value of R511 106 120 in total,” the department said.

The allowance included R147 115 846 in college tuition; R34 831 311 in allowances via TVET colleges; and R298 971 220 in NSFAS card allowances; and R30 187 743 towards student accommodation via solution providers.

“For universities, NSFAS has paid allowances and tuition to the value of R2 306 583 222 in total,” the department said.

The universities allowance included R1 258 865 972 tuition to universities; R653 954 716 allowances via universities and R393 762 534 direct payment to students.

However, the department said not all TVET colleges and universities have complied with the NSFAS deadline of 15 March 2024 for the submission of student registration data to facilitate the payment of allowances. 

The department said failure to comply by some TVET colleges and universities has contributed to the latest sporadic student protests.

“To address this, the Minister dispatched the Director-General to have an urgent meeting with the NSFAS management, which was intended to ensure that working with institutions, all outstanding allowances are paid as soon as it is practicable.

“In addition, NSFAS has sent its servicing administrators to work with the non-compliant TVET colleges and universities to finalise the submission of student registration data and ensure that the outstanding student allowances and tuition is paid in the next payment cycle,” the department said. –