The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) says important progress is being made in ensuring students are funded for the 2024 academic year. The financial aid scheme has received more than 1.7 million funding applications for the current academic year.
NSFAS spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi says the 2024 application period is going very well. The demand for funding is so great that the financial aid scheme decided to extend the application period by 15 days to allow more students to apply for funding.
Mnisi anticipates that funding applications could reach two million applications by the end of the 2024 NSFAS application period.
The spokesperson also revealed that NSFAS has received a significant number of NSFAS student loan applications for 2024.
Higher Minister Blade Nzimande launched the first phase of the Comprehensive Student Funding Model earlier this month. This model will provide student loans to students who fall within the "missing middle" category.This group comprises students from families with an annual income ranging from R350,000 to R600,000.
Mnisi says NSFAS will reveal the number of loan applications it receives in due time.
NSFAS also revealed that students who are not approved for a bursary will automatically be assessed for the missing middle NSFAS student loan.
For those who are not meeting the eligibility for the bursary, we are automatically giving them an opportunity to apply for a loan.
Mnisi stressed the importance of students submitting their NSFAS consent forms. The consent form allows NSFAS to verify the applicant's financial eligibility. Failure to submit an NSFAS consent form can lead to delays in funding decisions from NSFAS.
NSFAS also paid billions of rands upfront to universities and colleges to ensure students receive their allowance payments when they start their academic year.
The financial aid scheme is also in the process of implementing its new accreditation pilot programme. The goal of the programme is to ensure students have access to accommodation that is safe and conducive to learning.