NSFAS Reverses Unfunding Of Hundreds Of Students
NSFAS made the decision to pull the funding from over 5000 students earlier this year. The financial aid scheme is now said to have reversed it for hundreds of students. NSFAS has received a lot of backlash following this action but is supported by the Minister.
After the National Student's Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) pulled the funding from 5000 students in August, they have now managed to receive and evaluate appeals and have reversed the unfunding of 488 students.
NSFAS received 944 appeals. Of these, 488 were sufficient and saw students having their funding reinstated. The other 456 were rejected. This was due to them not having submitted additional information or their letter was not motivation enough for the organisation to reinstate their funding.
The list of students was however reduced by 724 due to the number of students who fell under the N+2 rule.
When students apply for funding, NSFAS checks whether students meet the income threshold of R350 000 or whether they still apply under the N+ rule. By doing this, NSFAS identified 5244 students who were funded but were above the income threshold.
NSFAS Chief Operations Officer, Nthuseng Mphahlele, said, “In some instances, the income would be in excess of a million”.
When comparing the declared income and the inforomation received from the South African Revenue Services (SARS), NSFAS saw that there were inconsistencies.
Should NSFAS continue to fund these students, it will be seen as irregular expenditure, said Mphahlele during a meeting with the Portfolio Committee. They then have the responsibility to stop the funding and inform students of this development, which was done.
Students were then allowed to submit appeals and written motivations with additional information which shows that there has been a change in household circumstances and this had to be submitted within 14 days of receiving the unfunding decision.
Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, said that legal action will be taken against these culprits and NSFAS will also seek to recoup the funds from these students that they paid for them while funded. He said that Government does not tolerate corruption and that, "NSFAS was precisely right".
“Corruption must be fought wherever it occurs irrespective of who is involved. We can’t say because it’s students that are involved in corruption that we'll have student solidarity to actually defend corrupt behaviour,” said the Minister.
NSFAS and the Department received heaps of scrutiny after this decision was made and action was taken and was seen as irresponsible and an attack on the missing middle.
NSFAs showed up ready in front of Parliament for the second time to respond to allegations made by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union Trade union (NEHAWU) against the organisation, many being against the Administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen.
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