Higher Education Committee Notes NSFAS’ Progress, but Appealed for Stability

Parliament´┐Ż The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training has noted the positive movement on disbursement of funds to student by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

The Chairperson of the committee Ms Connie September said the work is encouraging, and that closer collaboration with students is needed to take this work further. The welfare of the poor and working class students at colleges and universities should be priority, especially in 2019.

Ms September said the committee wanted a smooth application process this year, where certainty is given to students, parents and guardians when it comes to applications and registration of new and returning students.

The disbursement of funds needs to go together with a national framework agreement that addresses challenges of free education, but also issues of accountability from the Department of Higher Education and Training and NSFAS on expenditure of funds.

NSFAS administrator Dr Randall Carolissen told Parliament that the number of students requiring NSFAS funding will increase dramatically in the future, which will result in serious administration challenges at colleges. NSFAS is working to resolve these challenges, however. He outlined all NSFAS' programmes to address the current challenges related to disbursement backlogs.

The committee welcomed the overall approach to the student-centred model and said it wants to see an improvement in the quality of education and the provision of more access to deserving students.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa