Pay back what you owe NSFAS - Treasury

2016-09-20 21:11


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Cape Town - National Treasury on Tuesday called on NSFAS beneficiaries with jobs to start repaying their loans as it scrambles to find money to subsidise poor students.

“This is part of each citizen’s responsibility to play a part in helping other students who are in need of financial aid,” it said in a statement.

Treasury said it would continue discussions with the Department of Higher Education and Training on the fees matter. The results of this process would be made public during the mini-budget to be presented at the end of October.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande announced on Monday that universities could increase fees by up to 8% for 2017.

The “missing middle” - those classified as “too rich” to qualify for government support, but “too poor” to afford tuition fees - would not have to pay the increment set by their institutions.

Nationwide protests

Nzimande said government would help households with an income of up to R600 000 per annum with subsidies.

“The department is embarking on a prioritising drive and working with various departments and agencies to address the shortfall," the department said in a statement.

"In the present constrained fiscal environment this is an extremely challenging situation."

Those who could afford it should pay as it would let government help poor students.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana reminded students in July to start paying back what they owed the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which provides loans and bursaries to poor yet academically eligible students.

"At least 70% of working NSFAS beneficiaries are able to purchase cars and houses in their first three years of working. We need to remind them to pay back what they owe to NSFAS," he said at an education symposium in Mpumalanga.

Students across the country had been protesting at tertiary institutions to freeze tuition fees, until the implementation of free and quality education.

In October 2015, President Jacob Zuma announced that students would not have to bear the costs of a fee increase following nationwide protests that culminated at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Government provided R1.9bn of the R2.3bn shortfall in university funding resulting from 0% fee increase for 2016.

Follow the student fees debate on Twitter:

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Read more on:    nsfas  |  jacob zuma  |  blade nzimande  |  university protests  |  education  |  university fees

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