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UP Among Institutions That Repaid Unallocated NSFAS Funds

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UP Among Institutions That Repaid Unallocated NSFAS Funds

UP Among Institutions That Repaid Unallocated NSFAS Funds. The University of Pretoria (UP) has emerged as one of the leading institutions in the repatriation of unallocated funds from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), signaling a significant stride towards financial accountability and rectification within South Africa higher education sector.

Under the scrutiny of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), UP, along with several other institutions, has taken proactive measures to return funds earmarked for students but left unallocated due to systemic shortcomings within NSFAS.

Understanding The Unallocated Funds

According to Kaizer Kganyago, spokesperson for the SIU, the recovered funds span the period from 2016 to 2021. He explained that these unallocated funds represent monies intended for students who qualified for financial assistance but either changed institutions or deregistered.

Despite eligibility, these funds remained with the institutions due to inadequate control systems and reconciliation processes on the part of NSFAS.

Institutional Cooperation And Recovery Efforts

Kganyago emphasized the cooperation exhibited by various institutions when approached by the SIU, facilitating a swift and efficient recovery process.

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UP, for instance, repaid the unallocated funds in instalments of R100,000, contributing to the total recoveries amounting to an impressive R937,926,351 from higher learning institutions since the investigation’s inception in September 2022.

Notable Recoveries And Acknowledgement Of Debt

Among the institutions that have made repayments are West Coast College, NorthLink College, Walter Sisulu University, Nkangala TVET College, and the University of Johannesburg, among others.

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Additionally, agreements have been reached with entities like Motheo TVET College and individuals who failed to meet NSFAS funding criteria, highlighting a comprehensive approach to reclaiming misallocated funds.

Identified Weaknesses and Remedial Measures

The SIU’s investigation unearthed critical flaws in NSFAS control mechanisms, particularly in reconciling disbursed funds with student allocations. Such deficiencies resulted in overpayments and underpayments to institutions from 2017 onwards.

To address this, NSFAS has enlisted the support of a service provider to implement a robust reconciliation process termed “close-out reporting.”

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Celbux System Anomalies And Accommodation Oversight

Furthermore, the investigation brought to light issues within the Celbux e-wallet/voucher payment system, with numerous dormant accounts dating back to 2018, amounting to an estimated R320 million.

Moreover, discrepancies were noted in NSFAS-funded accommodation records, where crucial details such as physical addresses and landlord information were absent from the system, highlighting the need for enhanced oversight and data management protocols.

Conclusion

The strides made by institutions like UP in repatriating unallocated NSFAS funds underscore a commitment to transparency, accountability, and student welfare within South Africa’s higher education landscape.

While challenges persist, collaborative efforts between institutions, regulatory bodies, and investigative agencies are crucial in fostering a culture of financial integrity and equitable access to education for all eligible students.

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