Minister Announces Policy Change To NSFAS Allowances

Government is working with NSFAS to allow for changes to be made to the policies surrounding NSFAS learning material allowances. Minister Nzimande also spoke on the Higher Education budget allocations for NSFAS.

The Department of Higher Education is looking to implement a new policy for NSFAS students which will see learning material allowances being used to purchase laptops for new NSFAS students. 

Minister Nzimande said that this policy change will be put in place for 2021.

The Minister of Higher Education stated in a meeting with the Portfolio Committee, "As a department, working with NSFAS and institutions, we are working on policy amendments that will allow for the NSFAS learning materials allowance to be utilised at all institutions to purchase devices for first-time entering NSFAS students in future."

The Department along with the Treasury and NSFAS are finalising processes involved with providing students with devices, "particularly laptops to NSFAS funded students", said Nzimande. 

In a meeting with the National Council of Provinces, Nzimande spoke on the provision of laptops and said, "we raised an objection regarding the suspension and re-allocation of funds for student devices" and said that R2,5 billion will be used for devices. 

Other effects of Covid-19 on NSFAS also includes the reduction of the administration grant so that employees can be compensated and it is also expected that NSFAS will receive less from those owing due to student loans. 

Nzimande also made it clear that "NSFAS will require additional funding for the extension of the 2020 academic year". The Minister reassured Parliament members that they are paying attention to issues such as future student funding considerations, high levels of student debt, funding for missing middle and postgraduate students.

In response to Nzimande's budget announcements, FF Plus MP Armand Cloete said Nzimande should take responsibility for the "ghost students" and the R100 million that was paid for an inadequate computer system at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.


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