ANC commends NSFAS on progress in disbursing funds to students

27 November 2018

The ANC Study Group on Higher Education and Training welcomes the progress report on the disbursement of funds to students at universities and TVET Colleges.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) presented their reports to the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training today on the progress in disbursing bursaries and allowances to students as well as the application process for the 2019 academic year.

According to the report, of the 601 078 funded students, 527 953 students had received their allowances by 23 November 2018.

It was also reported that a total number of 35 409 students at both universities and TVET Colleges have not yet signed their NSFAS contracts; of which 21 154 are from TVET Colleges.

“We commend the strides taken by the NSFAS newly appointed Administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, and his team, that seek to ensure that bursaries and allowances are transferred to students timeously,” said Study Group Chairperson, comrade Connie September.

“The issue of funding at TVET colleges raises much concern. There needs to be a proper system in place that will ensure that issues of funding in this regard are taken care of.

We are also very happy with the report that students receiving NSFAS bursaries have been reported to be performing much better academically. This shows that the intensity of the work put in by the Administrator, the Department and student representatives bears fruit and encourages students to focus on studies rather than worrying about their bursaries and allowances,” comrade September added.

It is pleasing to note that the NSFAS Administrator and management team have identified priority projects to ensure an improved funding model for the 2019 funding year. Data integration is underway to stabilise the interface between NSFAS and institutions. NSFAS is also engaging with financial institutions to expedite disbursements and payment of allowances directly to students and IT systems have been stabilised to support their core business. 2019 online applications are also running without failure.

The NSFAS mandate prescribes for disbursements to be transferred directly to students and institutions, and any third party appointments need to be approved by NSFAS. Currently, many institutions appointed third part agents to disburse allowances to students, which has resulted in discontent from students, as presented by the South African Union of Students (SAUS), as these unauthorised appointments have the potential to erode financial benefits envisaged for students.

As a response to this, NSFAS intends to remove all commercial interests from the disbursement process.

As the Study Group, we are confident that by 2019, most of the challenges faced by NSFAS and the Department will be eradicated. The ANC led government remains committed to its resolution to provide fee-free quality higher education to the poor and working class.

Issued by the Chairperson of the ANC Study Group on Higher Education and Training, comrade Connie September.


Nonceba Mhlauli