The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande announced that universities will be extending registrations by two weeks.
This decision came after the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) failed to meet its deadline. Funding decisions have not been made and prospective beneficiaries application statuses are still not updated.
The Director-General (DG) of the Department of Higher Education (DHET), Gwebs Qonde explained that the delay was majorly impacted by Covid-19.
” As a result of Covid-19, the academic year had to be extended. The extension of the academic year was not accompanied by additional funding and during those months of the extension, students were paid allowances and other financial requirements towards helping them to carry on with their studies.”
The shortfall of funds has affected First-year students as many of them were denied funding.
Minister Blade Nzimande explained in a briefing on Monday that without available funds NSFAS can not make any confirmations whether funds will be available for first-year students for the 2021 academic year.
The department has said that it’s working to ensure that students are not excluded from the funding processes and this includes first-year students. It further explained that students who qualify to receive funding are not affected.
Another briefing will be held to ensure clarity for those applying for funding for the first time by the end of this week.
NSFAS announced that the funding eligibility decisions for new students will be released on 12 March 2021. Students can now check the myNSFAS portal to track their funding status. Go to https://t.co/4gk75HosNN, click myNSFAS & log in to your myNSFAS account.#NSFAS2021 https://t.co/oR67ZrWHKc
No late NSFAS applications for the year 2021
Students were hoping to receive another chance at applying for the National Student Aid Financial Scheme but this request has been denied.
Minister Blade Nzimande announced that NSFAS will not be taking any late applications for the year 2021.
The Minister addressed the reopening of schools on Monday and made it clear that students will not be given extra time regarding NSFAS applications.
Minister Blade Nzimande explained that students were given sufficient time to ensure that applications are handed in on time.
“We gave four months last year for those who want to apply to apply. We are now focusing on screening for purposes of allocating those who are successful. We cannot, unfortunately, be able to reopen,” he said.
This also takes into consideration that universities and TVET colleges are limiting their intake for the 2021 academic year.
For the year 2021 NSFAS has received over 750,000 applications, an increase of 185,000 from last year.
Application process clarified for new applicants
Students who are seeking to apply for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme were given clarity on the application process.
NSFAS took to Twitter on Monday to explain the application process and further highlighting that funding approval and continuation of funding is also based on academic performance.
TVET COLLEGE STUDENTS
This is how NSFAS works for TVET colleges