Government allocates R967 million to settle students historic debt

More than 52,500 National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students currently studying will benefit from R967 million from the Department of Higher Education to settle their historic debt.

Minister Naledi Pandor says the money is specifically for those students who were funded under the previous NSFAS scheme, before improved funding began last year.

Read: More than 30% of students go hungry

The government was not able to allocate full funding to students previously. The scheme would have a partial grant and families would have to make a contribution and many families who applied for NSFAS were poor so they couldn't meet that cost, which meant that students would borrow from the university.

Naledi Pandor, Minister - Department of Higher Education and Training

Students would then complete their studies with this loan hanging over their heads and they wouldn't be able to get their certificate so they sit without a graduation certificate because they have to pay for the loan but they can't get a job and this became some kind of a vicious circle.

Naledi Pandor, Minister - Department of Higher Education and Training

Pandor says she is happy with the current management of NSFAS and applauded them for a job well done.

It's a vastly different organisation from the one we spoke about last year. We have Dr. Randall Carolissen who is doing a sterling job, he is being absolutely amazing.

Naledi Pandor, Minister - Department of Higher Education and Training

The organisation has been through a change management process and is different from when I was appointed last year.

Naledi Pandor, Minister - Department of Higher Education and Training

By January this year over 300 000 students knew whether or not their applications were successful and by February students were receiving their allowances. This has never happened before with the scheme.

Naledi Pandor, Minister - Department of Higher Education and Training

In terms of NSFAS itself we are dealing with something different and I am very happy.

Naledi Pandor, Minister - Department of Higher Education and Training

To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below:


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