Although National Student Finacial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has extended its deadline for student applications to 21 January 2022, there has seen a low number of applications, particularly in areas like the Free State, North West, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.
NSFAS’s spokesperson, Kagisho Mamabolo says that the main cause of this is that most students submitted their applications during the last day of the initial closing which was 7 January.
He adds that as a result of this, the financial aid scheme's systems were overwhelmed, which was among the reasons why the NSFAS board had to approve an extension.
The spokesperson further states that there has been an influx of additional applications since the extension, citing an increase in applications from the Free State which stood at 46 000 applications before the initial closing deadline.
NSFAS has also been working with the government of the Free State province to ensure that enough application facilities are made available.
However, NSFAS confirmed that there has been a decline in student applications in Northwest and Mpumalanga. Adding that they will work in collaboration with their provincial governments and municipalities, to visit these areas to assist those who wish to apply but have been unable to.
He has also reiterated that learners do not have to wait for their matric results in order to apply and admits that lockdown restrictions may have resulted in the closure of some application facilities in these impacted areas.
To date, NSFAS has received more than 700 000 applications but says that this number should be at 800 000 by now. NSFAS will also visit impacted areas in the Northern Cape as well as the Eastern Cape over the next two days.
NSFAS has also stated that NSFAS funded students who have had their applications approved do not have to pay a registration fee.