DA Calls Out Unisa and NSFAS

The Democratic Alliance is on a mission to get further details when it comes to Unisa's decision to reduce the number of new students accepted in 2021. They are also calling out NSFAS saying that students shouldn't pay the price for their poor administration.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is on a mission to get further details when it comes to Unisa's decision to reduce the number of new students accepted in 2021. They are also calling out the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) saying that students shouldn't pay the price for their poor administration.

In a statement issued by DA's Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Science & Technology, Chantel King, it read:

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the University of South Africa (UNISA) and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) asking them to clarify the decision to reduce the 2021 new student intake by 20 000.

Blade Nzimande, the Minister in charge of Higher Education, requested that Unisa reduces it's first-year intake by 20 000 due to exceeding it's enrollment numbers the year before. 

He further said that NSFAS is not able to financially support the vast over-enrollment error.

The political party has now written to both Unisa and NSFAS to ensure accountability and to also ask whether they have actually done everything they could to solve this issue.

DA is not completely happy with the actions being taken, saying, "This decision will be a major blow for first-year students who pinned their hopes on UNISA and NSFAS to kickstart their academic careers. Many of these students planned their academic year based on their initial acceptance letters from UNISA and should not be at the short end of the stick due to the university’s transgressions."

DA now demands that both NSFAS and UNISA should make provisions for the absorption of new students and that UNISA should keep their original maximum capacity amount without accepting 20 000 fewer students.

... thousands of students’ academic futures now hang in the balance. They should not be punished for poor administration on the part of these institutions.

They therefore want the following questions answered:

  • How did UNISA’s administration manage to enroll over and above the enrollment limit for NSFAS students?
  • Even though UNISA over-enrolled NSFAS applications above the limited capacity, how and why did NSFAS approve these students?
  • Once NSFAS has reached its maximum capacity in terms of applications, how does the institution ensure that no more applications are accepted?
  • Whether all other potential solutions have been exhausted to prevent students from being excluding them from the education system?
  • What measures have the two institutions put in place to ensure that this error does not happen again?

Even though no answers have been received just yet, King believes that the over-enrollment is due to poor planning and coordination from NSFAS and Unisa.

I'm sure students and others affected by this decision will have the same questions as well and will be awaiting a response.

To read the full statement, click here.

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