Nsfas Plans To Grade Student Accommodation

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Living in accommodation close to a university or college ensures that thousands of students have more time to focus on their studies. However, living in an environment that is not conducive to learning could negatively impact a student's progress.


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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) wants to ensure that funded students live in accommodation facilities that are conducive to studying. This has been a topic of discussion, as living arrangements that are not conducive to learning and studying could impact the progress of students.

Nsfas provides comprehensive bursaries to students from poor and working-class backgrounds. Students are thus given a platform to obtain a tertiary education qualification without facing the barrier that lack of financial support can create.

The financial aid scheme will cover a student's tuition fees and provide students with living, transportation, and stationery allowances.

Nsfas provides a student with an accommodation allowance. This ensures that students can live closer to the institution where they are studying. Without these accommodation allowances, many students from areas far from their university may not be able to attend class.

Nsfas CEO Andile Nongogo revealed that the scheme will spend R13 Billion in 2022 on student accommodation. The amount spent on accommodation by Nsfas has grown in the past few years.

The average university residence accommodation cost per student increased from R 33,950 in 2020 to R41,714 in 2022 per annum.

Despite this substantial investment in student accommodation by Nsfas, several challenges remain. These challenges vary from problems of quality, availability, and safety, to challenges on how allowances for accommodation are being claimed for and used.

Nongogo said that in an effort to mitigate the challenges faced by students, Nsfas will take a proactive role in Nsfas-funded student accommodation to ensure value for money.

What action must Nsfas take to ensure that students live in accommodation that is conducive to studying?

This will be achieved through standardising the cost and quality by grading student accommodation, thus paying a standard rate based on the grading of each type of student accommodation facility.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Director-General Dr Nkosinathi Sishi also revealed that consultations were conducted by Nsfas on student accommodation norms and standards. The input gathered from the consultations involved the improvement of TVET student accommodation.

Sishi added that the department is concerned about third parties receiving funds from students but providing poor services. They acknowledged that this was a problem and it is an area that needs improvement. 


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