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NSFAS Attributes Disruptions in Higher Learning Institutions to Universities



NSFAS Attributes Disruptions in Higher Learning Institutions to Universities

NSFAS Attributes Disruptions in Higher Learning Institutions to Universities. The National Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has pointed out that universities bear some responsibility for the recent disruptions witnessed in higher learning institutions. These disruptions have arisen in the wake of the implementation of NSFAS’s new direct payment system.

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Protests and Disruptions

In the past week, several universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges experienced disruptions in their academic activities. These disruptions were triggered by protests against NSFAS’s decision to introduce the new payment method and its withdrawal of funding from students deemed ineligible. This new payment system was launched in universities in June.

Issues Raised by Students

Complaints from students primarily revolve around the non-receipt of monthly allowances and grievances regarding excessive transaction fees. A notable concern is that students have reported not receiving their monthly stipends, and many have expressed frustration over high transaction charges.

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NSFAS’s Response

NSFAS’s leadership held a media briefing in Pretoria to address these concerns. This briefing followed a pilot program for the new payment system at TVET colleges, which itself was met with opposition from students and subsequently led to protests.

Payment Delays and Registration Challenges

Students have claimed that they did not receive their allowances for the month of June. Additionally, some students encountered difficulties with the registration process through the designated app. There have also been allegations that NSFAS awarded tenders to ineligible companies. However, NSFAS denies allegations of excessive banking fees, asserting that students had incurred similar charges with the previous service provider.

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Board’s Perspective

Ernest Khosa, the chairperson of the board, emphasized that the decision to adopt the new payment system was made prior to the current board’s appointment two years ago. The board’s approach was to build upon existing processes and funding eligibility criteria to modernize the scheme’s offerings and ensure alignment with current needs.

Engagement and Compliance

NSFAS asserts that it engaged in extensive consultations with stakeholders before rolling out the new payment system. While acknowledging the existence of complaints regarding missing allowances, the scheme notes that these cases represent only a small fraction of the student body. It places a significant portion of the blame on institutions for non-compliance, particularly with regard to timely and accurate submission of registration data.

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Direct Payment Implementation

A key issue highlighted by NSFAS is the non-compliance of institutions in submitting accurate registration data. The scheme requires institutions to provide monthly updates on registrations. According to the scheme, this non-compliance hampers its ability to confirm registrations and subsequently pay students whose enrollment has not been verified.

Student Allowances and System Security

The scheme reports that approximately 86% of students have received their allowances. It intends to retain the direct payment system due to its advanced security features, which are designed to prevent fraudulent activities. These features include stringent authentication measures such as ID verification and facial recognition.

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Re-Evaluation and Funding

NSFAS acknowledges that it initially defunded around 50,000 students. However, following a comprehensive re-evaluation, it has reinstated funding for 14,000 students.


NSFAS asserts that while disruptions were partly caused by its new payment system, the blame also falls on universities for non-compliance with registration data submissions. The scheme maintains its commitment to the new payment method, emphasizing the importance of security and accurate authentication processes.

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