During his maiden Budget speech on Wednesday, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced that the Treasury Department will allocate more funds to students who are financially disadvantaged.
In 2017, the government announced a policy for fee-free higher education. We are announcing an additional allocation of R32.6 billion of financial support to current bursary holders and first-year students under the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)
During the Budget Review, the National Department of Treasury stated that any additional shortfall in funding university students this year would be at the expense of the Department of Higher Education.
“Any further shortfalls will be funded from within the baseline of the Department of Higher Education.” the Minister added
CEO of Universities South Africa, Ahmed Bawa commended the government for ensuring that NSFAS was properly funded as this is crucial in maintaining stability in the higher education sector.
However, Bawa went on to point out that the additional funding is not enough to address the student debt crisis that is prevalent throughout many of the country's higher learning institutions.
He added that this is particularly more of an urgent issue for students who are not funded by NSFAS.