By Gaby Ndongo (2 mins read)
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) yesterday announced that close to 50% of 2019 applications came from social grant beneficiaries.
There was a total of 473 911 valid and fully completed applications: 346 364 (currently eligible for funding), 36 865 (withdrawn by applicants), 61 703 (submitted personal details with documents of poor quality), and 28 979 (not meeting minimum funding criteria, but subject for review).
NSFAS worked with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the identification details of applicants and the Department of Social Development for insight on social welfare status.
The announcement of the applications’ outcome, before the start of the academic year in early February, enables students to enroll without having to pay the mandatory registration fees.
“From the total number of applications received, 69 357 were incomplete or may have outstanding or incorrect supporting documents,” said NSFAS administrator, Randall Carolissen.
“Applicants with incomplete applications have been contacted by NSFAS over the festive season and as we are receiving the required documents, their applications will be processed for funding decisions,” Carolissen added.
The funding scheme received 543 268 first-time applications in 2019 – it is an increase from 428 929 during 2018.
On the other hand, it expects a number of students from TVET colleges to apply after they have registered in January. Last year saw 160 000 students.
“NSFAS, in conjunction with the TVET sector, instituted additional administrative support to ensure rapid processing and turnaround,” said Carolissen.
University studies were the preferred choice of about 80% of the applicants. KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng banked the highest number of applications.
An overall of 15 000 applications were manually submitted while the rest using the scheme’s electronic portal.
The application deadline was Saturday, 30th November 2019, following an outreach campaign by NSFAS that stretched to rural areas and small towns.
Students need to access the MyNSFAS portal to view their current status. TOJ
Reporting by Gaby Ndongo. Editing by Kupakwashe Kambasha. Feature image is NSFAS logo. Feature image by Gaby Ndongo.