Policy changes to address disparities between NSFAS beneficiaries

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has introduced certain policy changes for the 2023 academic year to progressively address existing disparities between Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and university beneficiaries’ bursary packages.

Announcing NSFAS 2023 funding eligibility and criteria during a media briefing held in Pretoria on Tuesday, NSFAS board chairperson, Ernest Khosa, said TVET college students studying occupational programmes can only be funded for the cost of tuition for the duration of the qualification.

“TVET college students,who are registered on an occupational qualification, may qualify for allowances only if in simulated training, and students registered on an occupational qualification, who have an employment contract, do not qualify for NSFAS allowances.

“TVET college graduates will be funded for a university undergraduate qualification regardless of the benefit that they would have derived from the application of the N+ rule at a TVET college level (on condition they did not exceed the TVET N+ rule),” Khosa explained.

"N" is the minimum number of years allocated to complete a qualification and the +1 refers to the extra year that a student may need to complete the qualification.

On academic eligibility, Khosa announced that as of 2023, first-time entering students must achieve a course credit pass rate of 50%, while continuing university students must achieve a progressive course credit pass rate of 55%, and returning university students must meet ongoing academic eligibility requirements in order to remain funded by NSFAS.

“The N+ rule for distance university students will be reviewed as of 2024, and academic progression criteria will increase from 55% to 60% over time. On allowances, our board directed the executive management to introduce processes that enable the entity to reduce the risk of abuse of its funds,” Khosa said.

Khosa said the payment of allowances will be made directly by NSFAS into the students’ NSFAS bank account and NSFAS funded students are required to complete the NSFAS direct payment on-boarding process to prepare for the payment of allowances into their account.

“Through direct payment, NSFAS beneficiaries will receive their allowances for food, personal care, transport etc., through a NSFAS bank account; and after being registered on the system, students will receive virtual and/or physical cards they will use to transact.

“Additionally, students will be able to make online transactions such as EFT, prepaid purchases, receive from and transfer money to other existing banks, just as with a normal bank account, and other benefits include access to value-added services, ATM cash withdrawals, as well as at retail stores,” Khosa explained.

To ensure that all NSFAS students are on board, Khosa said the scheme has assigned NSFAS teams to institutions, and its service partners will join them when visiting all institutions from February 2023 to assist with on-boarding and query handling.

“Currently, the focus of the NSFAS teams is to encourage university students to on-board the new system in the meantime, as we prepare for university implementation later in the year. I would like to request that the SRCs, together with the student unions responsible for both our TVET colleges and universities, work together with the teams to make this process seamless,” Khosa said. – SAnews.gov.za

Most Read

SA News on Facebook

SAnews on Twitter