NSFAS-Funded Students will be Able to Register Without Paying Upfront Registration Fee
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology held a media briefing on the state of readiness of public higher education institutions as well as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
Speaking on load shedding, Nzimande expressed that many strategies are being considered by universities to cope with load shedding, adding that both the Departments of Higher Education and Training and Science and Innovation will be establishing a working group to address this.
Nzimande spoke on the recent Covid-19 “Kraken” variant, expressing that his department will continue to work with the Department of Health to ensure safety on campuses.
The Minister further expressed that several incidents of gender-based violence have been noted on campuses, adding that all institutions are currently working with Higher Health to provide safe workplaces and learning spaces for all staff and students in our institutions.
When speaking on the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Nzimande expressed that the Department plans to enrol 556 415 students into TVET colleges, adding that this figure is still quite far from their goal of 2,5 million student in 2030.
The Minister also addressed university enrolments of which the question of how many Matriculants who obtain a Bachelor’s pass are admitted into university was addressed.
According to Nzimande, about 80% of matriculants who obtain a Bachelor’s Pass, secure a space in a public university. He further added that the contributing factors of this include not meeting the APS requirements and not enough space in institutions.
“Whilst we urge students to also consider the TVET Colleges as an option, we have started considering the blended learning mode as an alternative to accommodate more students”- Minister Blade Nzimande
When speaking on blended learning, Nzimande expressed that this will aid the department in achieving the National Development Plan goal of 1.6 million enrolments in public universities by 2030.
The issue of Student Debt and Funding was also addressed by the Minister, with mentions of the missing middle and the terms and conditions of NSFAS.
According to the Minister, NSFAS has agreed with all public institutions to allow all the confirmed NSFAS funded students to register for the 2023 academic year, including those who qualify under the Historic Debt Funds and Close Out Report.
Moreover, funding for the so called “missing middle” is being finalised under the relevant processes.
The Minister further stressed that NSFAS applications for the funding for the 2023 academic year will close on 31 January 2023, adding that application results for first time applicants will be released on 6 February 2023, whilst returning students would receive feedback on 24 January 2023.
According to the Minister, NSFAS will make upfront payments to institutions to cover for cost related to registration, tuition fees and living allowances.
This means that all NSFAS funded students will be registered by all the institutions without having to pay an upfront registration fee.
“I have urged NSFAS, working together with the DHET, to intensify efforts in identifying all the crooks who are defrauding NSFAS and benefitting illegally from its funds”- Blade Nzimande
The Minister further expressed that those who cheat the system will be dealt with legal action.
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