- The National Student Financial Aid Scheme has so far received 300 995 applications for the 2021 tertiary academic year.
- Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said the number was extremely overwhelming and encouraging.
- Nzimande promised to provide technology resources to 68% of the general student population who indicated they required either a laptop or tablet.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has so far received 300 995 applications for the 2021 tertiary academic year.
This was 20 000 more applications compared to the same period last year.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said the number was extremely overwhelming and encouraging and they anticipated a high volume in applications leading up to the closing date.
Nzimande said the received applications were consistent for the past three consecutive years where Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and Limpopo led with the highest applications submitted.
"In an effort to reach out to students who meet the requirements and who are in need of financial assistance, but unable to access NSFAS funding due to lack of internet facilities or application resources in their areas, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) offices nationwide are open to the public. These offices have been fully operational since September 14, 2020.
"Over 15 Department of Basic Education (DBE) national teacher centres from various provinces have been made available to be utilised by applicants during this application cycle. Applicants can access these facilities during school hours," said Nzimande.
Nzimande promised to provide technology resources to 68% of the general student population who indicated they required either a laptop or tablet.
"Provision of data to university students remains high across the system. On average across the system, 94% of undergraduate students are being provided with data. It is expected that data provision will decrease over the next few months as more students return to campus and so have access to campus networks and WiFi.
"A tender to supply and deliver laptops to NSFAS students was re-advertised on 4 September and closed on 21 September. By the closing date, a total of 140 bid proposals had been received. NSFAS is currently evaluating the bid proposals, with the awarding of the tender estimated to be completed by 31 October."
Nzimande said once the service provider was appointed, learning devices would be delivered directly to students.
"Only contact NSFAS students funded under the department and currently registered for the 2020 academic year will qualify to receive a device. NSFAS also welcomed further collaboration with pre-funding agencies who wish to opt into the scheme based on the availability of budget and their associated conditions," said Nzimande.
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