NSFAS Starts Paying Allowances
Students have begun receiving their learning materials allowances. Since the change from vouchers to cash, university students are encouraged to spend their allowances in ways that benefit their education. Rather than using their allowances for other unrelated expenses. This change has also affected academic industry sales and businesses. Critiques have also shown concern about the effect the change to cash would have on students' academics.
Last year, NSFAS changed their policy to have book allowances for university students paid as cash rather than vouchers. Vouchers which were previously given allowed students to only make use of their allowances for books, stationery, laptops, etc. at NSFAS accredited stores. Now the allowance is paid as cash to students via their NSFAS accounts. This has enabled university students to use their allowances for personal uses rather than educational purposes. What's formally called, 'learning materials allowance' is now what students see as their own personal spending money directly from universities.
Please Note: The Learning Materials Allowance is only for university students for them to buy their textbooks. TVET College students do not get this particular allowance because their textbooks are supplied by their college.
This learning material allowance comes to a total of R5200 for the year. Along with this, NSFAS grants university students an estimated R1500 for a living allowance and R750 for travel allowance. When these allowances are paid to the student's bank account, students are utilising these allowances in it's appropriate manner but many have also taken their own liberty with it.
In October 2019, The Sunday Times reported that, "As a result, sales have dropped by 40% across the academic bookselling industry and by nearly 91% at some stores". It has been reported that the book industry has suffered a loss of more than half a billion rand since NSFAS underwent this change and has put many jobs at risk. When figures of 2019 are compared to figures from 2018, a drop of R540 million was shown for booksellers as well as a 40% drop being shown in the academic bookselling industry.
Critics of the change have also raised concerns that because of the improper utilisation of the allowance, students will not be able to cover the costs of their textbooks for the year and will then have to suffer the consequence of their academics declining. However, students also have alternative ways to obtain their textbooks.
Rather than buying from bookstores, students are investing in second hand books and using other service providers which would ultimately have these students with an increase amount of surplus allowance. NSFAS is an aid for students who cannot finance their studies themselves and this surplus could be of benefit to them. Take the food allowance for example. Students could use the extra money for food instead of having to wait until the end of the month. The surplus could also be used for other learning materials.
NSFAS, in receiving complaints from students about poor delivery of the vouchers and that the vouchers itself were very limiting to students, have had confidence in their decision to have the vouchers system be terminated and have it be paid to students' bank accounts. In an earlier article run by Careers Portal, we reported that, "NSFAS believes that students should be treated as adults and have the financial freedom to withdraw the cash voucher and make an informed decision on how to best utilise the funds."
Though a decline in academics has not formally been shown, the debate concerning the advantages and disadvantages of this change continues. NSFAS students, what do you use your allowance on? What's your take on this vouchers to cash change?
Details of TVET College allowances as supplied by Northlink College
DHET/NSFAS SUBSIDISED ALLOWANCES - 2020
In terms of the DHET Rules and Guidelines for the Administration and Management of the DHET College Bursary Scheme ("NSFAS") for 2020, special requirements for awarding of the subsidised allowances are detailed as recommended for consideration by the College Financial Aid Committee ("FINAID").
Due to the DHET publishing guidelines and allowing various Subsidised Allowances, the College herewith wishes to inform the Class of 2020 Students who qualify for Subsidised Allowances from the NSFAS Bursary Schemes that the following Allowances will be applicable to Students adhering to the Administration Process for application of Allowances.
All Allowances will be subject to the condition that Students have submitted their required documentation by 31 January 2020, to the various Campus Bursary Offices.
All Subsidised Allowances are applicable only to students whose Parents have a joint Gross Income of R350 000 or less per year. Parents must consent to verification of income. Proof of income must be submitted to the College.
The following Subsidised Allowances will apply:
1) Incidental/Personal Care Allowance
Paid Monthly from February to November 2020.
R 290 per month.
Payable to all NSF-AS Qualifying Bursary Students.
2) Transport Allowance
• Paid Monthly from February to November 2020. R 735 per month.
3)• Payable to all NSFAS Qualifying Bursary Students who do not qualify for the College Accommodation Scheme.3) Meal Allowance
Paid Monthly from February to November 2020.
R735 per month.
Payable to all NSFAS Qualifying Bursary Students who qualify for the College Accommodation Scheme.
Private Accommodation Students do not qualify for a meal allowance as this amount is already included in the monthly allowance that will be paid by NSFAS.
4) College Accommodation Scheme
o Applicable to all students who stay in radius of 40 km and more from the College.
o Subject to application.
o Subject to Proof of Home Address.
o Subject to the Accommodation Policy of the College and Rules of Northlink/Northville.
5) Feeding Scheme
Open to all students attending classes including NSFAS Bursary Students on Transport Allowance.
One cooked meal per day.
All students who have not signed their Allowance Application Forms in full by 31 January 2020, including the consent by the Parents, will not receive any payments.
All allowances are subject to the 80% Attendance Policy of the DHET/College which will be applicable as from 01 February 2020.
For all enquiries on the NSFAS Allowances, please refer to the Bursary Office located at on your Campus or the Student Support Officer.
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