Friday, 28th February, marks the end of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme’s (NSFAS) appeals period for funding for this academic year. The appeal process gave students, whose initial applications were not accepted, a chance to prove their eligibility for funding.
Appeals are submitted with a motivation of no more than 1000 words, through the myNSFAS account. This account further indicates the reason why an application was declined. The motivation should be accompanied by clear, valid and certified copies of the recommended supporting documents.
“Over four-thousand (4000) appeals were received directly through the myNSFAS [student] portal,” according to a statement by the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology, which was released on 13th February.
Results of prospective university students, who applied for funding from NSFAS during September to November 2019, were announced on 6th January.
Some of the applications of this group of students were declined due to various reasons, such as one submitting personal documents that could not be validated by the Department of Home Affairs.
In total, there were about 580 413 applications (484 038 from new students, 96 375 from returning students and 264 642 from beneficiaries of the South African Social Security Agency), according to another statement from the Department, released on 20th February.
“This year, we are providing R34.5 billion through NSFAS to support students from poor and working-class backgrounds in their studies at public TVET colleges and universities,” said minister Blade Nzimande in the statement.
Online appeals are only designated for applicants who applied for the first time last year. For those who were funded by the scheme in 2019 but did not qualify for assistance in 2020, the appeals had to be done at their respective institutions’ financial aid offices or student support services.
Last week saw students from several colleges protest in response to not having received their allowances from NSFAS. These institutions included Eastcape Midlands TVET College situated at Uitenhage and Buffalo City TVET College in East London. Both are in the Eastern Cape province.
Their allowance grievances are for housing, transport and living allowance funds. Some Buffalo students are allegedly facing evictions from landlords, while others have been evicted and are lodging at student residences’ common rooms.
Buffalo’s St Marks, John Knox and main campus have been experiencing protests for the past two weeks. The college has given students an option of choosing between the R870 for accommodation or R700 for transport.
According to NSFAS, “TVET college sector continues to be confronted with the high culture of walk-in applications at the start of the academic year, which delays the funding decisions and payments to students. During the 2020 January period, NSFAS received 130 609 (prior year 160K) walk-in applications and it is doing its best to expedite the funding decisions of which 105 624 of these applications have already been processed.” TOJ
Reporting by Gaby Ndongo. Editing by Magnificent Mndebele and Kupakwashe Kambasha. Feature image: NSFAS logo. Image courtesy to Gaby Ndongo.