Missing Middle Will Get Support From NSFAS

Missing middle students will be able to receive funding from NSFAS in the future. NSFAS aims to support the missing middle and has plans to do so. NSFAS also aims to solve the issue of the digital divide which exists in South Africa. 

It was announced that missing middle students who don't qualify for a bursary from NSFAS will be able to get funding from NSFAS in the future. This will be done by NSFAS offering a loan to missing middle students, like the organisation used to. 

NSFAS has received R35 billion from the Department of Higher Education and Training for funding and a further R5 billion for other bursaries. In 2018, NSFAS changed their loan to a bursary and guarantee a full duration of study's costs for students covered.

Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, said in a media briefing that he has been looking into "what additional measures can be taken to have an affordable loan system for higher education with a particular focus on the missing middle."

Another interesting mention from Carolissen was that with the change, less people will have to feel the pressures of having to work to pay for their siblings' fees. However, the missing middle won't necessarily qualify for this bursary. 

On devices, he said, "As much as South Africa was talking about the digital divide, we weren't doing anything about". NSFAS is giving NSFAS students laptops but he says this won't solve the probem which is why they are now having serious conversations about students in rural areas and the issue of connectivity. TVET College students will also be provided with devices. 

In 2021, Dr Randall Carolissen said in a webinar, competition for NSFAS bursaries will be beigger as more people apply. This increase of applications will come as a result of the effects of Covid-19 such as job losses and salary cuts.

The NSFAS Administrator encouraged parents to ensure their children apply to both NSFAS and higher education institutions as it was found that students qualified for funding and did not apply to a University or TVET College. 

The organisation funds 42% of the University population and 70% of TVET College students. NSFAS wants Universities to step up their enrolments of NSFAS. NSFAS does not fund private education providers, only Public Universities and TVET Colleges. 

NSFAS has fixed a lot of the system problems of the systems that went wrong, said Carolissen, and students are encouraged to learn to use NSFAS portals and ask for assistance as the move towards becoming more digital happens. 




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