NSFAS Is Underfunded and Corrupt - ANCYL

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Students who marched outside the NSFAS offices this week have said that NSFAS is underfunded and corrupt and has declared that someone needs to be held accountable. NSFAS has made it clear that they are not in a position to clear historic debt.

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The ANC Youth League has said that the amount of money NSFAS receives cannot cover the applications they receive and that the institution is underfunded and corrupt.

Lundokuhle Xulu from the ANC Youth League who formed a part of the group who marched outside NSFAS offices on Monday has said that there has been problems of maladministration and corruption at NSFAS and that no one has been held accountable for it.

"Corruption in our view is a situation where resources that are meant for education are used for other things and then education suffers," he continued to explain.

ANC Youth League seems to believe that these funds being used for corruption is the reason why NSFAS experienced a shortfall of funds.

They're also concerned when it comes to the Auditor-General reporting that NSFAS has had R2 billion in irregular expenditure.

We also raised the issue of access to higher education. We understand that NSFAS has not released the list of students that are supposed to be funded by NSFAS this year but government has came to say that nobody should be left behind or nobody who's deserving must be left outside but NSFAS is not expressing the same and has not created certainty on those issues.

This is only some of the issues they took to NSFAS and also had a meeting with the NSFAS CEO.

Xulu has said that NSFAS is underfunded and by reallocating funds without following the proper processes, this then adds to the irregular expenditure at the institution.

Higher education in the country is under funded.

- Lundokuhle Xulu

NSFAS, along with the government, has said that they do not have the funds available to doesn't settle historic debt of students who pay for their studies themselves before they became NSFAS students.

The institution has said that they have cleared some students' debt should their amount owing reach above the capped amount.

NSFAS students with historic debt are able to register when they sign an Acknowledgement of Debt (AOD) form, said the Department.

Some students have called for NSFAS to open their late applications to grant students more access to higher education as demand grows. This comes after the Higher Education Minister made it clear that there would be no late applications for 2021 after they received an overwhelming amount of applications.

NSFAS Spokesperson, Kagisho Mamabolo, told SABC News:

Institutions do their plans every year. So NSFAS prioritisation in funding plans are actually aligned with the enrolment target of the institution. So if the institution goes above board in terms of it's enrolment target, obviously it will create a shortfall in NSFAS funding.

NSFAS has had over 3 billion beneficiaries. In 2018, NSFAS changed from being a loan scheme to a bursary scheme.

He continued to say that students who were funded through NSFAS when it was a loan scheme will start paying back their loans and this money can then be used towards funding for current students.

"Working together with the private sector which will help us to collect the debt that is due but also invest in the missing middle because that's a gap that government is not funding," said Mamabolo.

NSFAS offers bursaries to South African students who plan to study at public universities and TVET colleges. They cover funding for more than just tuition fees. 

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