NSFAS delays: “We can’t study with an empty stomach” says student
University of Johannesburg has extended it's registration for NSFAS-funded students. Students believe it’s unfair that classes started without students having financial access to books and food due to delays in NSFAS payments.
By Julia Evans
- University of Johannesburg students picketed, calling to be allowed to register and to be given allowances for food and other academic material.
- The university’s management agreed to extend registration until Friday for students to be funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
- UJ said it would assist with allowances once students sign an acknowledgment of debt.
About 40 students gathered at the Mafikeng building at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Auckland Park Campus on Wednesday before marching to the finance building. They want the university to allow students who are funded by NSFAS to be allowed to register. They also demanded allowances for food and academic material.
The group handed over a memorandum of their demands to Godfrey Helani, Senior Director of Student Affairs, who promised to respond later in the day.
Their demands include that all students who passed 50% of their modules be unblocked and allowed to register, for them to get book and meal allowances; and for some academic activities to be extended. They want their demands to be met by Friday.
Second year law student Miracle Khosi, 20, said, “It’s unfair for students to be busy with assignments without having any study material or allowances. It doesn’t really align with their right to equitable education.”
Computer Science and Informatics student, Letlhogonolo Mopedi, 26, said that the protest was necessary because they “can’t study with an empty stomach”.
Like most of the protesting students, Mopedi said he was able to register but many others could not afford to. “We are fighting for other students. Most of them are at home because they don’t even have the money to come to school.”
UJ management responded to the demands via Zoom call later on Wednesday. Management said that if senior students’ accounts were less than R10,000 in arrears, UJ would unblock the account. But on condition that the students sign an acknowledgment of debt (AOD).
Registration, which was meant to end on Wednesday, has also been extended to Friday to allow these students to register.
The management explained to students that various institutions agreed with NSFAS that the 2021 academic year would start in March, so NSFAS only planned to release funds this month.
Consequently, the universities that started in February like UJ did not receive the lump sum from NSFAS, which resulted in students not getting allowances over the past two weeks.
UJ said it had still not received the funds from NSFAS and has decided to use its own money to help students in March and April. The university said book allowances will be released from next week once students sign the AOD.
Meet Nandi Nkosi, a #BostonSprings Graduate!
“I graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Management Marketing. I was so excited to achieve a degree from Boston because it affords me the opportunity to broaden my horizons in terms of job seeking, and this is especially beneficial as South Africa has a high unemployment rate.
False Bay TVET College began participating in Peer2Peer programmes which are all based on the belief that encouraging regular dialogue in the physical and emotional safe space of peer groups will challenge and equip students to take responsibility for their health, well-being and development.
Central University of Technology have opened up their applications for 2022. Don't hesitate and apply now!
Most popular articles today
The National Teachers' Organisation of South Africa has voiced its concerns as teachers prepare for their vaccine jab following the arrival of half a million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
With the addition of an online application system, students are now able to apply online to study with False Bay TVET College. Semester 2 classes start 14 July.
Even though the country is now seeing a rise in infections with Gauteng recording thousands of new cases daily, the Education Department has said that schools will still be opening with full capacity. The Gauteng Education Department also gave some insight into what would happen should a positive case be found.
With government announcing that all primary schools will return to school in the third term and the country experiencing the third wave, one would then wonder if a full-capacity return would be safe. The third term is set to commence on 26 July.
Other people were also interested in:
Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, announced that NSFAS will not be taking late applications from students wanting to be funded for the 2021 academic year.
Due to NSFAS having insufficient funds earlier this year, they then had to reallocate funds within the department. Unfortunately, this has now lead to other areas of the department facing the consequences.
Recently NSFAS has discovered that there are over a million students that are eligible for funding. The high number of students can come as a challenge to the organization but, they say that they are working to continue to fund as many students as they possibly can.