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NSFAS Allowances Should Be Increased Say Student Unions

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 NSFAS Allowances Should Be Increased Say Student Unions

NSFAS Allowances Should Be Increased Say Student Unions. Students across South Africa are urging the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to enhance their allowances, crucial for accommodation, food, and learning materials.

Consultations for 2024 Academic Year

In preparation for the upcoming academic year in 2024, NSFAS engaged in consultations with stakeholders, including prominent student unions such as the South African Union of Students (SAUS) and SATVESTA.

Union Calls for Allowance Increase

During the consultations, the student unions emphasized the urgent need for an increase in NSFAS allowances. SAUS explicitly called on the Portfolio Committee to support the augmentation of student allowances, covering meal and travel expenses.

Additional Recommendations

Alongside the call for increased allowances, student unions proposed several recommendations, including the elimination of bank charges for students, the reopening of the off-take agreement process to address accommodation challenges, and the swift implementation of a comprehensive student funding model.

Financial Aid Scheme’s Response

NSFAS recently disclosed that 234,124 students received their allowances as part of the reconciled final disbursements for 2023. However, 20,000 students are yet to receive their allowances, prompting concerns from student unions.

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Outstanding Allowances and Deadline

While NSFAS aims to resolve all outstanding allowances by January 15, 2024, student unions remain skeptical, dismissing NSFAS explanations as mere excuses. SAUS pointed out a continuous pattern of crises in the payment system, questioning the necessity of monthly beneficiary verifications.

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Conclusion

The ongoing dialogue between student unions and NSFAS underscores the pressing need for increased allowances to meet students’ basic needs. The concerns raised by unions regarding the payment system’s reliability and the urgency of implementing proposed recommendations highlight the importance of addressing financial aid challenges promptly. As the deadline approaches for resolving outstanding allowances, the focus remains on ensuring the seamless disbursement of allowances for the 2024 academic year.

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