NSFAS Allowances Unpaid For Six Months At TVET College

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The introduction of a new allowance payment system by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a major concern for students. Students have been protesting for the past two weeks at a Limpopo college as they await their allowance payments. 

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Students from both campuses of Waterberg Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in Mokopane in Limpopo have been affected by allowance delays. They have taken to the streets for the second consecutive week to express their frustrations at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)

Protesting students say they have not received their NSFAS allowances for the past six months. Several protesting students have also been defunded by NSFAS. This leaves them forced to cover the cost of tuition, irrigation and essential items needed during their time at college. 

Many students complained that they are unable to focus on their academics due to financial stress, leading to the decision to initiate the strike. Students allege that the college management allegedly threatened the students with expulsion if they continued with the strike.

NSFAS said students will only receive allowances once they receive registration data from the institution. This registration would then be sent to service providers which would facilitate the direct payment onboarding process

The TVET college says they sent all the necessary information of qualifying students to NSFAS for payment processing. The institution emphasised that payment disbursement was under the purview of NSFAS and not the college itself.

NSFAS Direct Payment System 

In 2022, NSFAS announced it would pay allowances directly to students. 

Previously, NSFAS would pay the allowances to institutions which would then distribute allowances to students. Some institutions hired service providers to handle the disbursement of allowances. This changed with the introduction of the NSFAS direct payment system

Waterberg TVET college students say the NSFAS direct allowance payment system is not user-friendly and prone to fraudulent activities, causing disruptions in their financial transactions. There are also instances where students are unable to track their transactions. 

We decided to strike because we've been facing this problem since May. Most of us haven't received any allowances, and we can't go on like this. No allowances, no school.

In addition to the funding issues, students raised concerns about excessive bank fees being charged by service providers appointed by NSFAS. 

Investigation Into NSFAS Bank Account Tender 

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) compared the bank fees being charged by NSFAS-appointed service providers and with more established banks. They concluded that the NSFAS bank account fees cost more than those being charged by other banks. 

 The transaction fees were excessively increased leaving the students not in a better position than before, the fees that are deducted from the NSFAS student accounts have a direct impact on every student and OUTA estimates that approximately R3 billion will be paid by the students as a collective for the remainder of the contract. 

OUTA says more than 25% of NSFAS-funded students have not received their allowances on time. 

NSFAS says they intend to investigate the complaints thoroughly and will take appropriate action if the allegations are substantiated. They instructed service providers to increase their physical presence at higher education institutions to assist students with challenges regarding direct allowance payments. 

Suggested Article:

NSFAS allowances.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme is in hot water once again, this time with regards to the sudden defunding of over 40 000 students. Students have repeatedly voiced their frustrations with the bursary scheme, but NSFAS is firm in its decision.

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