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The NSFAS has yet to pay 20 000 allowances for 2023

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The NSFAS has yet to pay 20 000 allowances for 2023

The NSFAS has yet to pay 20 000 allowances for 2023 .The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has encountered challenges in disbursing allowances for the 2023 academic year, impacting the financial well-being of numerous students. This article explores the recent developments, disbursement plans, and reactions from student unions.

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NSFAS Allowance Disbursement Update

In a recent statement issued by NSFAS, it was revealed that as of December 5, 2023, only 234,124 out of the intended students have received their allowances. The disbursements mark the final payments for the year 2023 after a thorough reconciliation process.

Reconciliation Process Phases

The reconciliation process involves three crucial phases: direct payment of allowances to students, allocations to institutions for tuition, and disbursements through institutions. The delay in allowances for 20,000 students is attributed to ongoing consultations with institutions, requiring additional input.

Targeted Completion and Future Preparations

NSFAS aims to finalize all outstanding allowance payments for 2023 by January 15, 2024. This deadline is crucial to prevent any adverse effects on the disbursement of 2024 allowances. The NSFAS board is scheduled to conduct meetings with organizations and stakeholders to discuss preparations for the 2024 academic year and provide insights into eligibility criteria and conditions.

CEO Connections and Transparency Concerns

Uncertainty surrounds the future of allowance payments, exacerbated by revelations of former CEO Andile Nongogo’s connections with service providers in the direct payment system. The NSFAS board plans to make public announcements regarding the implementation of the Werksmans Attorneys report on direct payment service providers.

Student Unions Critique NSFAS Excuses

Despite NSFAS’s assurance of working to resolve allowance issues, student unions remain skeptical. This section delves into the reactions and criticisms expressed by student unions regarding NSFAS’s explanations for the delayed allowance payments.

Student Union Response

Student unions, such as the South African Union of Students (SAUS), express dissatisfaction with NSFAS spokesperson Mr. Mnisi’s explanations, dismissing them as “absolute rubbish” and “nonsense.” SAUS argues that crises have been a recurring theme since the inception of the current payment system.

Monthly Beneficiary Verifications

Dlanjwa, a representative of SAUS, highlights the futility of monthly beneficiary verifications, emphasizing that crises persist despite these efforts. The article concludes with SAUS detailing strategies, including dialogues with the Department of Higher Education and engagement with various stakeholders, in their pursuit of resolving the ongoing challenges.

Conclusion

NSFAS faces challenges in disbursing 2023 allowances, with 20,000 students awaiting payments. Transparency concerns and student union skepticism underscore the urgency of resolving these issues for future academic years.

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NSFAS News

How NSFAS Allowances Paid To Students

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How NSFAS Allowances Paid To Students

How NSFAS Allowances Paid To Students. More than one million students in South Africa benefit from comprehensive bursaries provided by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Despite this support, student unions, particularly the South African Students Congress (SASCO), have expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the current funding system and have called for improvements.

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Challenges Faced by Students

In 2023, NSFAS funded over a million students enrolled in approved courses at universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. However, the scheme faced challenges in effectively assisting the poor and working-class students due to several issues. These challenges were partly attributed to the implementation of a direct allowance payment system, which led to irregularities and necessitated “consequence management.”

Controversy Over Allowance Distribution

The direct payment system, introduced in 2022, involved four companies handling student allowance payments. However, an investigation revealed potential conflicts of interest, leading to the dismissal of NSFAS CEO Andile Nongogo and termination of contracts with the service providers. Despite this, in 2024, NSFAS required students to register with these same companies for allowance distribution, drawing criticism from SASCO.

SASCO Criticisms and Demands

SASCO has accused the NSFAS Board of hypocrisy for reinstating allegedly irregular service providers. They argue that the current system exploits students, leading to delays, inefficiency, and unnecessary charges. SASCO calls for the implementation of recommendations from the Werksmans report, including terminating contracts with the companies.

Accommodation Crisis

SASCO also criticizes NSFAS for its indecisiveness in addressing the student accommodation crisis. While NSFAS launched an accommodation portal in 2022, SASCO argues that NSFAS has not taken practical steps to increase bed spaces in higher learning institutions and TVET Colleges. They demand immediate action to improve student living conditions.

Conclusion

The current NSFAS funding system faces criticism from student unions like SASCO, who call for more transparency, efficiency, and student-centered approaches. The ongoing controversies highlight the need for NSFAS to address these concerns promptly to ensure that students receive the support they need to succeed in their studies.

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