NSFAS has disbursed R7.9 billion in allowances to university students – Blade Nzimande

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Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande.
Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande.
GCIS
  • NSFAS paid an advance amount of approximately R7.9bn to cover university student allowances.
  • Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande made the announcement at a press conference on Friday.
  • He also said Covid-19 vaccinations for staff in the higher education sector would begin on Saturday.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) paid an advance of around R7.9 billion to cover March and April allowances for students at universities.

On 10 June, a second R6.9 billion payment was made to cover May, June and July allowances.

According to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, the number of students assessed as eligible for the 2021 programme cycle is 1 286 867.

The total allocated for the university sector is 939 934 students and 346 933 students at TVET Colleges.

READ | NSFAS ordered 180 000 laptops - but only 15 000 students needed them: Report lifts lid on its challenges

On Friday, Nzimande addressed a press conference, during which he presented the NSFAS funding report and announced that the Covid-19 vaccination of staff in the higher education sector would begin on Saturday.

"To date, NSFAS disbursed allowances to a total of 623 386 students as per the data submitted by institutions. This number represents at least 48.5% of the total number of overall eligible students. The number is likely to increase as a result of the TVETs term 2 intake, semester 2 (TVETs and universities ) as well as Term 3.

"A further increase is expected from the outcome of data remediation processes conducted by NSFAS," he said.

According to Nzimande, their data for the 2021 academic year indicates that 47%, or 444 609, of eligible university students have confirmed registration at institutions.

Confirmed

"It is, however, important to highlight that, among these 444 609, at least 2% will not have their NSFAS funding confirmed as they fall within the category of registration data non-conformities/exceptions (ie these students are found to be non-compliant based on the information received). These exceptions come as a result of many reasons, including data exchange challenges," he said.

Nzimande said NSFAS made payments to 183 422 students at TVET colleges.

"There are 20 950 students who, for various reasons, still need to resolve outstanding requirements for their allowances to be approved. These students are exceptions, which largely consists of 13 276 that were initially incorrectly funded and had subsequently been resolved," he said.

READ HERE | Community college lecturers petition against salary changes, say they weren't consulted

In respect of Covid-19 vaccinations, Nzimande said a provision had been made in order for each site to vaccinate about 300 to 1 000 people per day.

From Monday, additional sites are expected to open in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town, Gqeberha and eThekwini.

"This will cover over 120 000 staff from universities, TVETs and CET colleges in the next 2-3 weeks. These same sites will be extended to private institutions, the skills learning sector, Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), National Skills Fund (NSF) and a range of skills development providers," he said.

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