NSFAS overload

Experts warn of NSFAS overload in light of the new R3.8 billion fund. Image: File

Like SASSA, NSFAS overload a REAL concern in 2024

Experts warn of potential NSFAS overload in 2024 due to the still-unfinalised R3.8-billion disbursement scheme. Here’s why …

NSFAS overload

Experts warn of NSFAS overload in light of the new R3.8 billion fund. Image: File

Universities South Africa (USAF) says the new R3.8-billion National Student Financial Aid Scheme for the ‘missing middle’ could lead to NSFAS overload in 2024.

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Just as the government department of SASSA is beginning to show cracks, following numerous wrongful suspensions and fraudulent accounts, so the NSFAS will be tested to breaking point in 2024, says USAF.


NSFAS aims to conclude 2023 allowances by 15 January.
NSFAS aims to conclude 2023 allowances by 15 January. Image: X/@NSFAS

Handling more than R46-billion in grants, the NSFAS is mired in tender corruption allegations. OUTA released leaked recordings two weeks ago in which service providers were allegedly awarded lucrative tenders in exchange for paying bribes to Ernest Khosa and Education Minister, Blade Nzimande.

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To deflect attention away from the allegations, Nzimande announced R3.8-billion student funding for South Africa’s ‘missing middle’ last week. Now, Dr. Phethiwe Matutu, CEO of USAF worries that tens of thousands of bursary applications so close to the start of the academic year will trigger NSFAS overload.


Watch South Africa’s top universities in 2024 video
The best universities in South Africa. Image: Wikipedia

In a report by Business Tech, Matutu says: “If NSFAS does everything by itself, it will be too much. I urge government to seek administrative support from universities and the private sector in the short time frame before universities reopen.”

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Clearly fast-tracked as a ploy to deflect attention from allegations of misconduct, USAF is unaware and unprepared for how the ‘missing middle’ fund will work. Representing 26 public universities in South Africa, USAF insists it’s in the dark as far as implementation from the Department of Higher Education is concerned.


What does the NSFAS bursary cover
Applications for NSFAS aid in 2024 are now open. Here’s what’s covered. Image: File/Fotor

Matutu said USAF welcomes any type of new funding, however, she urged the department to release details of the scheme as soon as possible. And, crucially, with just weeks to go to the start of term, to begin the application process.

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The ‘missing middle’ refers to students who come from a household income of no less than R350 000 and no more than R600 000 per annum. Until now, the NSFAS has focused on low-income households, disbursing more than R123 billion worth of student loans to nearly 3-million needy beneficiaries.


NSFAS overload
Image: File

At the end of 2023, the NSFAS appeared to be ‘on the brink of collapse’ over late and non-payment of allowances. It is understood that more than 80 000 students did not receive their funding. This made for a disastrous end-of-year examination period for the affected beneficiaries.

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What do you think of NSFAS overload, will it be a problem for the aid scheme this year? Be sure to share your thoughts with our audience in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us @TheSANews on X and The South African on Facebook for the latest updates.