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NSFAS Addresses Teething Issues and Clarifies Defunding OVER 45,000 Students

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NSFAS Addresses Teething Issues and Clarifies Defunding OVER 45,000 Students

NSFAS Addresses Teething Issues and Clarifies Defunding OVER 45,000 Students. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has recently faced challenges and controversies surrounding its new system and policies. This has led to protests and concerns from students who were suddenly defunded, prompting NSFAS board chairperson Ernest Khosa to provide clarifications.

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Background

Thousands of students across various higher education institutions found themselves disenfranchised due to issues with NSFAS’ new payment system, eZaga, and delays in payouts. As a result, 45,927 students were defunded, leading to protests and disruptions at universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

NSFAS’ Response and Clarifications

In response to the protests and disruptions, Ernest Khosa addressed the media to shed light on the situation. He emphasized that NSFAS takes the challenges seriously and is committed to its mandate of promoting accessibility and consultation in its operations.

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Stakeholder Involvement

Khosa highlighted that NSFAS had undertaken thorough preparations before implementing the new changes. The scheme engaged with key stakeholders in the sector, including Universities South Africa, the SA Public College Organisation, SA Technical and Vocational Education and Training Student Association, and SA Union of Students. This collaboration aimed to address the current issues faced by students and ensure effective implementation.

Enhanced Payment System

The new payment system, eZaga, was introduced to enhance transparency and curb fraudulent activities targeted at NSFAS beneficiaries. The system provides improved oversight of funds disbursed to students and includes security features aligned with banking environment laws and regulations. Khosa clarified that social media speculation about incorrect disbursements and additional charges were factually incorrect.

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Payment Card and Technical Glitches

Khosa explained that the new payment method offers students banking freedom through physical and virtual cards, enabling them to withdraw cash, transact at various retailers, and perform online transactions. While acknowledging technical glitches caused by high internet traffic during registration periods, NSFAS sent teams to campuses to assist students with authentication and verification processes.

Funding Reinstatement and Defunding Explanation

Khosa clarified the defunding of 45,927 students, explaining that many of them provided different parental relationships in their second application attempt after being rejected due to their parents’ financial status. A re-evaluation process revealed the original information, leading to the reinstatement of funding for some students while others remained unsuccessful. Khosa noted that unsuccessful cases were often due to factors such as household income exceeding R350,000 or not meeting required academic progression.

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Conclusion

NSFAS acknowledges the challenges and disruptions faced by students and is actively working to address them. The scheme remains committed to its mission of providing financial aid and promoting accessibility to education while ensuring the security and accuracy of its payment system.

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