All NSFAS qualifying students to be funded this year

Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande says all students that have been admitted to accredited programmes in institutions of higher learning will be funded for the 2022 academic year.

The Minister said this when Ministers in the Social Services Cluster responded to oral questions during a plenary of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

He said this after it emerged during a debate on the State of the Nation Address last month that there was a shortfall of nearly R10 billion in funding for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

“…all qualifying NSFAS students this year who have been admitted to accredited programmes at universities and colleges will be funded for the 2022 academic year,” he said.

Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament, Chantel King, had asked Nzimande, with reference to his commitment made during the resumption of the debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address on 15 February 2022, to provide the details of how the predicted R10 billion shortfall in funding for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme in the 2022 academic year will be covered in order to ensure that all eligible students will receive funding.

Nzimande said the National Treasury allocated an additional amount of R7.775 billion for the 2022/ 23 financial year.

A further amount of R1.5 billion will be reprioritised from the Department of Higher Education and Training’s 2022/23 budget.

“This allocation is in line with the projected R9.3 billion shortfall for NSFAS in the 2022/ 23 financial year.

“In addition, the National Treasury has allocated additional amounts in the Medium Term Budget Framework for the anticipated shortfall in subsequent years.”

He said this was done, however, at the same time as the department is working with a Ministerial Task Team appointed in 2021 to develop a comprehensive student financing model or student financial aid system that will bring certainty in terms of the different funding needs of the students.

The Minister said the hope is that such a model and the necessary policy frameworks would be finalised by the middle of the year in order to move forward.

Source: South African Government News Agency