R200m graduate fund still untouched

2011-07-07 08:54

Not a single graduate has applied for funds from the R200-million government scheme set up to help them settle outstanding university fees.

The New Age newspaper reported today that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which is tasked with administering the R200 million which is supposed to enable 25 000 students to receive their certificates, said it had not yet received any applications for funding.

NSFAS spokesperson Bonny Feldman said: “The process is for students to apply at the university where the debt is located. They would need to follow the usual process for a NSFAS loan by going through the financial means test in order to assess their level of need.”

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande announced the R200-million grant during his budget speech in May.

He said all students who met the requirements for graduation between 2000 and last year, and who are eligible for NSFAS loans, could apply for the special funding through their student financial aid offices.

The SA Student Union said yesterday that while it had tried to inform students about the scheme, it was the NSFAS that was supposed to get in touch with students who were sitting at home.

Student union president Sandile Phakathi said he hoped that students would come forward to apply when universities opened, as they were now closed for the winter break. 

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