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Students with NSFAS Historic Debt Will Graduate, Says Nzimande


While several students still await verification and the distribution of allowances, Minister Nzimande has announced some positive steps taken where NSFAS is concerned. If Government delivers on their promises, the next 10 years will see higher education in South Africa transform. 

“This year, we are providing R34.5 billion through NSFAS to support students from poor and working-class backgrounds in their studies at public TVET colleges and universities,” said Minister Nzimande. 2020 saw NSFAS receive over 580000 applications, with 264642 of those applications being received from SASSA beneficiaries. 

Since 2018, NSFAS took up the task of evaluate historic debts belonging to NSFAS senior students of 2018/2019 academic year and were registered with NSFAS. As a result, returninng NSFAS students could register as long as they signed an Acknowledgement of Debt form. "This exercise was meant to effectively ensure that students with NSFAS historic debt will be able to graduate,” said Minister Nzimande. This comes after protests nationwide for historic debt to be terminated.

One of the demands issued by South African Union of Students states, "students must be given their academic records and certificates despite them owing universities". If a student completes their studies and is then searching for jobs, internships or further studies, they will need these documents to be handed to prospectove employers and institutions. Without this, they cannot continue building their career. 

The statement released by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) containing Nzimande's response to the State of the Nation Address mentioned, "Minister Nzimande said that government has also worked with the university sector to keep fees at affordable levels, while substantially increasing the funding for poor and working-class students."

 The distribution of allowances is done by institutions after NSFAS transfers funds to them. At UWC, the SRC has engaged with Financial Aid about the issue and they responded that, "the delay was a result of the number of students who had changed details and payments could therefore not be complete" which the SRC did not accept. 

Meetings are being held to discuss the delays in allowances and appeal statuses. Students hope to receive news and updates soon. 

Read the full statement released by DHET here




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