Johannesburg – The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) criteria for deserving students will remain the same this year, NSFAS boss Sizwe Nxasana said on Wednesday.The criteria would only change next year when the new funding and comprehensive model, which would include the so called missing middle, was added to the programme, he told reporters in Johannesburg."The criteria it will utilise will go beyond the blunt instrument or crude way in which the means test is applied at the moment. It will also seek to address other challenges that we face particularly those that are faced by poor students."Nxasana said the challenges included the success rates, progression rates, and employability of students when they completed their studies.He said the new model would first be rolled out to certain universities in 2017 for testing, then in 2018 the new model would be piloted across all universities.Nzimande said NSFAS would receive an additional R4.5bn from state funding over and above the R10bn already allocated for this academic year.Last year students led protests across the country in response to an increase in fees at South African universities. Protests started at Wits University in Johannesburg and spread to the University of Pretoria, the University of Cape Town and Rhodes University before rapidly spreading to other universities across the country.President Jacob Zuma eventually announced that there would be no fee increases in 2016.