'Some of these students had to return back home, others are sleeping on campus'
Refilwe Moloto chats to #OpenNSFAS representative Kabelo Mahlobgwane about students' frustrations with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
Students under the #OpenNsfas have taken to social media, calling for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to re-open application for deserving students.
We are very disappointed and concerned at how NSFAS failed to fund poor students who have been offered placements at universities and institutions of higher learning.Kabelo Mahlobogwane, Representative - #OpenNSFAS
This, despite the announcement by former president Jacob Zuma that there will be free education for the poor and the middle class, he says.
He says students come from far afield with acceptance letters to universities in big cities such as Johannesburg.
When they arrive here they cannot enroll in these universities because they cannot afford it...though they meet all the requirements.Kabelo Mahlobogwane, Representative - #OpenNSFAS
He says in a number of cases, families, and friends in the rural areas from which they hail, helped raise money to enable these students to travel to university - and having arrived are now unable to afford to stay.
Some of these students had to return back home, others are sleeping on campus.Kabelo Mahlobogwane, Representative - #OpenNSFAS
The NSFAS application process was open last year for about three months and closed in November, he adds.
The #OpenNSFAS wants to see these deadlines scrapped.
Since then there has not been an opportunity for these students to re-apply again.Kabelo Mahlobogwane, Representative - #OpenNSFAS
There is a record of students who did not receive NSFAS funding in last year's application process because they did not meet minimum requirements, but who have since rewritten matric and been accepted into university.
Mahlobogwane insists there still available money in NSFAS coffers.
The #OpenNSFAS wants the fund to audit all the successful applications from last year and redistribute those funds remaining to these students who, he says, come from extremely poor backgrounds.
NSFAS has not responded to this request yet but the Minister of Higher Education has called a multi-stakeholder meeting on Tuesday, which #OpenNSFAS is planning to attend.
Listen to the interview below:
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