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Students Rally Against Troubled NSFAS Payment System



Students Rally Against Troubled NSFAS Payment System

Students Rally Against Troubled NSFAS Payment System. A group of students from various universities took to the streets on Wednesday, converging on Parliament to voice their opposition to the newly implemented direct banking system by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Challenges Faced by NSFAS-Funded Students

Over the recent months, students supported by the NSFAS have encountered a series of challenges relating to fund disbursement and the allocation of student allowances.

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Protest Motivations

In response to these concerns, a significant number of dissatisfied students, led by their respective Student Representative Councils (SRCs) from institutions in the Western Cape region, embarked on a march to Parliament in Cape Town. Their objective was to present a memorandum outlining their demands to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.

Basis for Student Protests

This march follows a wave of protests from multiple educational institutions across the nation this month, centering around various issues. Primarily, these include the delayed distribution of student allowances, the problematic nature of the new direct payment system, and the elevated bank charges associated with the system’s implementation.

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Introduction of New Payment System

To streamline the disbursement of NSFAS allowances and mitigate payment delays, the scheme introduced a novel direct payment mechanism through the use of the NSFAS MasterCard.


Partnerships with Banking Service Providers

NSFAS collaborated with four banking service providers to bring this new payment solution to students. These providers are Tenet Technology, Coinvest Africa, Ezaga Holdings, and Norraco Corporation.

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Challenges Faced by Students

Some students have voiced their frustration, noting that the process of onboarding onto the new system has been far from smooth. Queries have been raised regarding communication surrounding the new system’s introduction, particularly its timing during the academic year.

Financial Concerns

While the direct banking system had already undergone a trial period at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in 2022, its full implementation at universities across South Africa only occurred a few months ago.

Issues with the System Implementation

However, since its implementation, numerous complaints have arisen. These encompass instances of students not receiving their funds, excessively high bank charges, technical glitches, and unauthorized access leading to fund losses.

See also  NSFAS Payment Dates For TVET Colleges

NSFAS’s Response

NSFAS Board Chairperson Ernest Khosa acknowledged the inherent challenges that come with introducing new systems. He cited teething issues and authentic cases where students couldn’t access their allowances through the new solution.


Technical Glitches and Solutions

Khosa highlighted that closer to payment dates, the system faces technical glitches due to heavy internet traffic caused by simultaneous student registrations. Onboarding for TVET college students remains an ongoing process, especially as new students continue to enroll.

He explained that these glitches stem mainly from data integration issues with institutions and system overload arising from a high volume of students trying to register simultaneously.

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Khosa also mentioned that they’ve received reports of students struggling with the authentication process, leading them to deploy officials across various campuses to provide assistance.

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