R14, 5 billion allocated for NSFAS

By Drum Digital
21 January 2016

By Nomzamo Ngcobo

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has received an allocated budget of R14, 5 billion for the 2016/2017 financial year.

The budget increased from R9,5 billion in 2015 to R10 billion in the 2016/17 financial year, and an additional R4,5 billion that was announced by President Jacob Zuma at the ANC 104thbirthday rally.

This announcement was made by the NSFAS Chairman Sizwe Nxasana during a media briefing in Houghton, north-east of Johannesburg this morning. Nxasana said of the R10 billion, over R700 million has been allocated for full bursaries in scarce and critical skills for the current year.

The press briefing follows a meeting by the Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande, NSFAS and university vice-chancellors yesterday. The students have been protesting since last year and early this year, calling for free higher education.

Among their demands early this year, students called for the implementation of the R2,6 billion commitment made by the state regarding debt clearance of students who owe NSFAS. Nzimande's last meeting with student leaders resulted in some of the student’s representatives walking out.

And he said of the additional funding of R4,5 billion, R2,5 billion will assist 71 753 students who qualified for NSFAS funding for loans, and the R2 039 billion will ensure that any of the NSFAS qualifying students, still in university in 2016 are supported financially to continue and complete their qualification.

Nxasana also said that historical debt of all students who qualify for NSFAS has been resolved. He said, “No students who meet the NSFAS means-test who have been offered a place at any university will be required to pay upfront payments or registration fees when registering for the 2016 academic year.”

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