Members of parliament hold the student funding body NSFAS to account at regular feedback sessions, and back in September the allegation was made that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme was housing students in shacks.
The NSFAS gives students funding to study at universities of public TVET Colleges across South Africa. It pays their full fees as well as the accommodation if necessary and a study allowance and a living
For this year a cap was placed on the accommodation allowance so that it could not be more than R60,000 per year. This has been difficult for students in some of the more expensive cities who have not been able to find accommodation they can afford at this rate.
Then the allegation was made that some students at a college (that has not been named) were living in shacks.
NSFAS has to check all accommodation that students are living in before they sign the lease agreement and they will approve the payment of the rent to the landlord.
In a statement released by the student funding body they say they have investigated and, "Found no record of students residing in shacks. It was however mentioned that in some cases students changed accommodation without updating their lease agreements and college records accordingly."
"NSFAS is aware that the state of some private and institution owned accommodation is not conducive for learning. This is one of the reasons that NSFAS undertakes a stringent process in ensuring that NSFAS beneficiaries stay in approved accredited accommodation."
They added that they use the Department of Higher Education's Norms and Standard for Housing to ensure that the accommodation meets the requirements.
NSFAS did also note that there is a nationwide shortage of suitable accommodation for students that is near to campuses - and affordable.
Applications for NSFAS funding for the 2024 academic year are set to open on the 21st of November 2023.