Over one million NSFAS bursary applications have flooded in for the 2024 academic year, reaching 1,545,822 applications as of January 21. According to SANews, the application cycle will close on January 31, and the Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, anticipates additional submissions before the deadline. Dr Nzimande revealed that the scheme has provisionally funded 657,703 South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) recipients’ applicants. The Minister urged all NSFAS applicants to submit a consent form for verification. This information is crucial for assessing applicants’ financial eligibility and ensuring compliance with legislative requirements.
NSFAS has introduced new platforms such as the NSFAS student mobile app, WhatsApp number (078 519 8006), and USSD code (12067327). Through these channels, applicants can easily access updates on their applications. Dr Nzimande stressed the significance of submitting a complete, accurate, and duly signed consent form, as failure to do so would disqualify students from NSFAS funding due to the inability to evaluate financial eligibility. Higher learning institutions have been called upon to submit the list of NSFAS-funded students who have been registered. NSFAS is piloting the accreditation of private student accommodation in 17 universities and 23 TVET* colleges for 2024. This initiative ensures that student accommodation meets standards of accessibility, decency, safety, and academic conduciveness.
Accommodation providers are accredited, accommodation fees will be paid through secured platforms, and grading accommodation will establish a standard and cap for accommodation. In terms of progress, out of the registered 38,938 beds on NSFAS platforms in TVET colleges, 25,989 have been accredited and are available, with 12,949 beds in the process of accreditation. For universities, out of the total 67,337 registered beds, 42,965 have been accredited and available, while 24,372 beds are in the accreditation process. As part of this year’s registration period, NSFAS has devised a plan to visit hot spot areas to ensure that students do not face accommodation challenges, with weekly training sessions ongoing for accommodation providers and students until February 2024.
*Technical Vocational Education and Training
Picture: X / dsigovza
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