By Gaby Ndongo
Look out for fraudsters sending SMSs requesting for students’ personal details as they aim to gain access to the distributed allowances, according to NSFAS.
The information is used to log into students accounts such as NSFAS Wallet, which has the dispersed funds.
“NSFAS will not ask you to send your personal details to validate your information and NSFAS does not communicate with students via SMS,” the national funding scheme wrote in recent posts of its social media accounts.
It urges students to log in their myNSFAS Online Self-Service Portal to update any personal information.
In January, NSFAS announced that it will no longer send SMSs to first-time applicants, returning and continuing students in 2019 as “direct” means of communication due to recurring scams. NSFAS partnered up with law enforcement entities to investigate the scams.
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The national funding scheme’s website and Twitter account have been designated as primary sources of official announcements, while myNSFAS is to assist with any funding related matter from one’s application status to fees.
NSFAS Contact Centre can also be used as “Centre Agents will ensure that suitable precautions are being taken and key security questions are asked to positively identify the person contacted and to build trust,” a post in its Facebook account explained.
A step back
The method of depositing student allowances to respective, verified bank accounts was introduced in January 2019, cutting out the use of middlemen such as Fundi.
“We are removing all commercial interests from the disbursement chain because it just does not work,” said Dr Randall Carolissen, NSFAS Administrator, in an interview with SABC.
He further said that discussions were held with banks to facilitate students processes of opening bank accounts.
“We have now reached an agreement with the Department of Higher Education (and Training – DHET) that all allowances are going to be standardised and that we will pay them directly as far as possible into students’ bank accounts so that they begin to manage their own financial affairs,” he explained.
The standardised amount, according to a statement from DHET, is R5000 annual learning material allowance in public higher education institutions, while students from distance education institution UNISA will receive the R2750 per annum incidental allowance.
The monthly stipend of R275.00 for personal care will also be transacted to students’ accounts, commencing during the 2019 academic year. TOJ
To inquire, contact NSFAS on 08000 67327 or send an email to RandallC@nsfas.org.za
Reporting by Gaby Ndongo
Feature image: NSFAS illustration.
Image courtesy to Gaby Ndongo.