Major Increase Seen In College & University Applications

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The pandemic has affected education in so many ways and forced changed within the sector. Now, another effect which is being observed is that higher educations saw an increase in applications for 2021.

With application season rounding up, Universities and TVET Colleges have seen an increase in first time applications for 2021.

At the University of Western Cape, applications for 2021 was almost twice that of 2020 with a jump of 60 000 to 110 000. 

Even though 2020 and the pandemic turned everything as we know it upside down and saw Matrics having to endure many changes, decisions and plans concerning their futures still had to be made.

Some learners had to change what they wanted to study due to the effects of the pandemic. While other learners who had plans to study overseas or work overseas also had to put those plans on hold. 

Servaas Van Der Burg, an Economics Professor, said:

Very often, Matriculants may decide to take a gap year or some of them might study abroad and that may not be possible in the circumstances.

Another reason for the increase in applications is the impact the pandemic has had on the economy. 

Van Der Burg explained, "More people might think the labour market is not as good an option as it would've been in other circumstances". Whereas some Matrics would have gone and looked for a job straight out of Matric, they might now instead choose to study further.

The increase in student funding available could also be a reason for more students wanting to pursue their studies.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) also saw a major increase in applications from University and TVET College students wanting to be funded in 2021. NSFAS provides bursaries to South African students. 

This increase was expected due to the impact the lockdown has had on jobs and salaries with families having less income and the need for funding growing.

NSFAS received around 750 000 applications from students wanting to be funded in 2021. This is an increase of 185 000 applications when compared to 2020.

This, Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, said, "shows a high level of demand for funding support and access to higher education and training opportunities".

The academic year is due to begin in March 2021. With Matrics receiving their results on 23 February, this leaves enough time for them to receive feedback from colleges and universities and be on track.


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